Fact Check

Did Trump Say Revolutionary War Troops Took Over Airports?

The U.S. president blamed a teleprompter for the flub during his Fourth of July address in 2019.

Published July 5, 2019

US President Donald Trump is shown on a screen next to a tank (R) during the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP)        (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images) (Getty Images)
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U.S. President Donald Trump said American Revolutionary War troops took over airports.

During a speech commemorating Independence Day in 2019, U.S. President Donald Trump made a statement erroneously indicating that American rebels had taken over not-yet-existent airports during the Revolutionary War:

Trump gave the 45-minute speech during a rain-soaked spectacle in Washington, D.C., on July 4, 2019, during which military hardware such as tanks and aircraft were displayed on parade.

During a passage in the speech in which Trump was describing the American Revolutionary War in soaring rhetoric, he remarked: "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. 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 rockets' red glare, it had nothing but victory. And when dawn came, their Star Spangled Banner waved defiant."

Because no airports existed in the 18th century (the first successful airplane wasn't flown until 1903), that portion of Trump's speech inspired some jokesters to take to Twitter using the #RevolutionaryWarAirports hashtag, sharing humor and altered images of famous Revolutionary War artwork edited onto photographs of airports:

Trump blamed a faulty teleprompter for the goof, telling NBC News, "The teleprompter went out. It kept going on, and then at the end, it just went out. It went kaput."

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Shear, Michael D.   "With Flyovers and Flags, Trump Plays M.C. for the Fourth."     The New York Times.   4 July 2019.

Gregorian, Dareh.   "Trump Blames Teleprompter for Revolutionary War 'Airports' Flub."     NBC News.   5 July 2019.

Bethania Palma is a journalist from the Los Angeles area who started her career as a daily newspaper reporter and has covered everything from crime to government to national politics. She has written for ... read more