Trump mistakenly claims American soldiers 'seized airports' during the War of Independence in hour-long Fourth of July speech

Trump 4th July


US President Donald Trump speaks during the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019.

  • President Donald Trump during his 4th July speech praised the victories of the revolutionary army in the American War of Independence. 
  • In a major blunder President Trump mistakenly claimed that American forces "seized airports" during the 18th century conflict. 
  • "Our Army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do," in a mistake some ascribed to a problem with his teleprompter. 
  • Trump's speech mainly focused on the achievements of the US military and avoided the polarizing rhetoric some had feared. 
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President Donald Trump used his 4th July speech to praise the victories of the American army in the War of Independence - but made a major historical stumble, claiming that the 18th century revolutionary army "seized airports." 

Speaking as a heavy rainstorm battered the crowds gathered in Washington, Trump said: "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."

"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."

It was at this point the president stumbled: "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.

"And when dawn came, their star-spangled banner waved defiant."

It wasn't until 1903, more than a century later, that the Wright Brothers made the first successful flight in an airplane. 

On Twitter, some poked fun at the president's error. 


Others said that the blunder was likely caused by a problem with his teleprompter, with the president largely sticking to the script and avoiding the more freestyle nature of his campaign speeches. 

The president's baffling reference to 18th century air travel wasn't his only error.

President Trump claimed that the British siege of Fort McHenry, which inspired the composition of the Star Spangled Banner, occurred during the Revolutionary War. It actually took place during the War of 1812, some 29 years after the end of the Revolutionary War.

Trump's speech Thursday mainly focused on praise for America's armed forces, and avoided the polarizing rhetoric of his campaign rallies. 

Ahead of the speech, Trump had faced criticism for politicizing the Fourth of July event. He was the first president in nearly seven decades to make a speech to Americans on Independence Day. 


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