Trump blames teleprompter for Revolutionary War 'airports' flub

The president made the gaffe during his speech at the Lincoln Memorial as part of the "Salute to America" July Fourth event.
Image: Donald Trump
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive at Morristown Municipal Airport in Morristown, New Jersey, on July 5, 2019.Mandel Ngan / AFP - Getty Images

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By Dareh Gregorian

No wonder he hates teleprompters.

President Donald Trump — who used to mock predecessor Barack Obama for using the devices during speeches — said Friday that technical problems with the teleprompter during his "Salute to America" led to his head-scratching remarks about the Continental Army securing not-yet existent "airports" during the Revolutionary War.

"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," Trump said during his address Thursday — although the army was not named after Washington. It then got stranger.

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"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."

Trump, speaking to reporters on the White House lawn en route to his property in Bedminster, New Jersey, acknowledged Friday he had some technical problems because of the soggy conditions during his speech.

"We had a lot of rain. I stood in the rain. The teleprompter went out," he said in response to a question from NBC's Kelly O'Donnell. "It kept going on, and then at the end, it just went out. It went kaput!"

One of those moments was in the passage about 1775, he said.

"Actually right in the middle of that sentence, it went out. And that's not a good feeling. 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 (the crowd) went all the way back to the Washington Monument."

The teleprompter screen had been "hard to look at anyway cause it was raining all over it."

But Trump said he wasn't letting the rain dampen his spirits about the event.

"I do the speech very well, so I was able to do it without a teleprompter, but the teleprompter did go out," he said. "But despite the rain, that was just a fantastic evening."