On one of the rare occasions that President Donald Trump stuck to the script, he says the script failed him.
Trump’s recitation of highlights from American history in his Fourth of July speech detoured into a mashup of war and centuries. He segued from the War of Independence to modern times and back to the War of 1812 so fast that it seemed he thought George Washington’s forces seized airports, ages before airplanes existed — though he did not state that was his belief.
“The teleprompter went out,” Trump said Friday. “Right in the middle of that sentence it went out.” He added: “I knew the speech very well so I was able to do it without a teleprompter.”
The White House did not release a text of the speech that had been prepared for him so it’s not known what he meant to say.
As a light rain fell, he told the crowd about 15 minutes before the end of his event: “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.” After an unintelligible reference to an army at the “ramparts,” he went on: “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.”
Trump then proceeded in a more chronological fashion, mentioning the Civil War and the world wars.
The Battle of Fort McHenry took place in 1814, when Americans repulsed a British attempt during the War of 1812 to take over Baltimore. It inspired the poem and song that became the national anthem more than a century later, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Associated Press writer Lynn Berry contributed to this report.
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