As his critics were quick to retort on Twitter, airplanes (and airports) were more than a century away from being invented

By Adam Carlson
July 05, 2019 10:00 AM

In a largely apolitical speech for the Fourth of July commemorating the history of America’s triumphs, President Donald Trump got a bit of America’s history wrong when he referred to the Continental Army “[taking] over airports” while fighting the British in the Revolutionary War.

As his critics were quick to retort on Twitter — his preferred medium of slamming rivals himself — airplanes were more than a century away from being invented.

The hashtag #RevolutionaryWarAirportStories also drew thousands of retweets as users mockingly riffed on the mistake.

“In June of 1775, the Continental Congress created a unified army out of the Revolutionary Forces encamped around Boston and New York and named after the great George Washington, commander in chief. … Our army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do,” the president said in his Thursday night speech, according to USA Today.

He continued: “At Fort McHenry, under the rocket’s red glare it had nothing but victory. And when dawn came, their star-spangled banner waved defiant.”

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The 45-minute speech, as detailed by The New York Times, was unusually apolitical for Trump, as the White House had said it would be. Leading up to his “Salute for America” event at the Lincoln Memorial, critics charged the president was hijacking a usually nonpartisan holiday for his own ends as the 2020 campaign ramped up.

Trump also insisted on a military presence at the event, drawing cries that he was behaving more like an authoritarian in China or Russia.

“Put troops out there so we can thank them — leave tanks for Red Square,” one retired general told the Times.

President Donald Trump addresses the crowd at the Lincoln Memorial during his "Salute to America" event commemorating July Fourth.
Alex Brandon/AP/Shutterstock
The "Salute to America" event on Thursday at the Lincoln Memorial

Elsewhere in his Fourth speech, Trump celebrated the various branches of the armed services and singled out Americans including Harriet Tubman, per the Times.

He did not mention the usual objects of his fixation, including his Democratic rivals and Robert Mueller, who investigated his Russia ties.

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“As long as we stay true to our cause — as long as we remember our great history — as long as we never, ever stop fighting for a better future — then there will be nothing that America cannot do,” he said.

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