President Trump appeared to stumble a little over his prepared remarks on July 4, mistakenly claiming that Revolutionary Army soldiers “took over airports” in 1775.
Trump, speaking to a massive crowd during a rainstorm in Washington, D.C., spoke of the forces winning various battles against the British during that year.
“The Continental Army suffered a bitter winter of Valley Forge, found glory across the waters of the Delaware and seized victory from Cornwallis of Yorktown,” Trump said while reading the teleprompter in the rain.
“Our Army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do, and at Fort McHenry, under the rocket’s red glare it had nothing but victory,” he continued. “And when dawn came, their star-spangled banner waved defiant.”
President Trump: "The Continental Army suffered a bitter winner at Valley Forge, found glory across the waters of the Delaware and seized victory from Cornwallis of Yorktown. Our Army manned the air, it ran the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do." pic.twitter.com/KQIGDUWDG3
— The Hill (@thehill) July 5, 2019
The mistake quickly spread across social media, with many pointing out that the Wright Brothers did not make the first successful flight in an airplane until 1903.
Wright Brothers, 1903: pic.twitter.com/5Xj8vR8edB
— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) July 5, 2019
— Acdcnut (@Acdckcnut) July 5, 2019
Dearest, the battle for gate C4 was hard fought, but we prevailed. Alas, we ran out of ammunition, and had to lob our stores of Cinnabons at them. The sacrifices of war try our souls. #RevolutionaryWarAirportStories
— Diane@hpochocolate1 (@hpochocolate1) July 5, 2019
The Washington Post noted that besides the airport flub, there were several errors in Trump’s speech.
Trump bragging about “victory from Cornwallis of Yorktown” did not specify that British General Cornwallis was from London and his forces were defeated at Yorktown.
He also erroneously said the Continental Army was named after George Washington, the Post noted.
It also appeared that Trump’s speech conflated battles fought during the Revolutionary War in 1775 with conflicts during the War of 1812.
The battles of Delaware and Yorktown occurred during the Revolutionary War but the president goes on to discuss the battle at Fort McHenry that inspired the writing of “The Star Spangled Banner.”
However, the battle that is described in the national anthem was fought in 1814 during the War of 1812, the Post reported.
The president spoke for 45 minutes from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, flanked by supporters and Pentagon officials.
The remarks were heavy on military imagery and light on political rhetoric following weeks of backlash for the unconventional Independence Day appearance.
Trump was criticized by Democrats and local officials who said his appearance was inappropriate. Many pushed back on the cost of the event and potential damage to local infrastructure from military tanks.