Trump received criticism following his July Fourth speech when he incorrectly stated that airports were around during the Revolutionary War

By Eric Todisco
July 05, 2019 07:54 PM

President Donald Trump is explaining himself after his controversial July Fourth speech, in which he said the Continental Army took “over airports” while fighting the British in the Revolutionary War — despite it being more than a century before airplanes were invented.

Trump, 73, took no responsibility for his verbal slip up but instead suggested technical difficulties were to blame when he was questioned by reporters outside of the White House Friday morning.

“Well, I can just tell you, those people that you see — there’s a lot of people in front of the White House — every one of them loved it,” Trump said referring to how his speech was received. “I would actually say — and I want to sort of give a little appreciation — the media, generally speaking, loved it. They loved the evening. We had a lot of rain. I stood in the rain. The teleprompter went out…”

With heavy rain coming down on Trump and his supporters gathered at the Lincoln Memorial, the teleprompter went out right before he made his history lesson snafu, he claims.

Donald and Melania Trump 

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“Yeah, the teleprompter went out,” he continued. “It kept going on. And then, at the end, it just went out. It went kaput. So I could have said — and, actually, right in the middle of that sentence, it went out. And that’s not a good feeling, when you’re standing in front of millions of millions of people on television, and — I don’t know what the final count was, but that went all the way back to the Washington Monument.  And I guess the rain knocked out the teleprompter.”

He continued, “I knew the speech very well, so I was able to do it without a teleprompter. “But the teleprompter did go out. And it was actually hard to look at anyway because there was rain all over it.”

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Nonetheless, Trump maintained that “despite the rain, that was just a fantastic event.”

He added: “I think people really had it. And I think a lot of people — you know, it was really a recruitment situation. A lot of people are going to be going our Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard.”

Ahead of Trump’s 45-minute speech, that included his incorrect history recollection and was considered to be fairly apolitical, critics charged the president as hijacking a usually nonpartisan holiday for his own ends as the 2020 campaign ramped up.

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His insistence on military presence at the event also drew 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 New York Times.

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