US President Donald Trump on Friday blamed a faulty teleprompter for several blunders in his Independence Day speech, during which he made historical references to the American Revolution and spoke of airports being taken over by the army, and at one point seemed to confuse that war with the War of 1812.
Addressing reporters outside the White House, Trump laid the blame on a teleprompter that went “kaput” at times during his speech.
“And I guess the rain knocked out the teleprompter,” he said.
“I knew the speech very well. So I was able to do 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.”
According to Trump, the prompter went out right in the middle of the sentence in question.
“And that's not a good feeling when you're standing in front of millions and millions of people on television,” he added.
Trump apparently ad-libbed at the point he made reference to, describing how the army manned air defences in 1775:
"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 said. “And when dawn came, their star-spangled banner waved defiant."
Considering that airplanes and, accordingly, airports had not been invented at that stage in US history, while the battle at Fort McHenry was waged during the War of 1812, the gaffes couldn’t but be swooped upon instantly.
Twitter exploded with the trending hashtag #RevolutionaryWarAirports, as numerous users teased Trump with mockup images showing the rebels taking airports from the Crown, and offered fact-checking to show that the first flight was only to come in 1903.
Trump’s 4 July speech was generally positively received despite Democrats' concerns that it would be political in nature.
Prior to this year, no US president in recent American history had made themselves part of a Fourth of July event in Washington DC.
On the eve, 2020 Democratic presidential candidates had warned it might turn into a political spectacle that would fail to bring in crowds, however, thousands participated in the annual National Independence Day Parade in the central streets of the US capital of Washington DC, held hours before the first “Salute to America” event, initiated by President Donald Trump.
Trump himself adhered to a strictly patriotic, nonpartisan note during his address to a massive crowd, as he cited numerous historical tales of valour.
“Salute to America” paid tribute to each of the five US service branches and included flyovers by various military jets and a display of M1 Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles, with fireworks wrapping up the celebrations.
Trump had first voiced the idea of holding the celebration after attending a Bastille Day military parade in Paris in 2017.