They’re calling it “The Battle of the Baggage Claim.”
During his Fourth of July speech given from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in a rainy Washington, D.C., President Donald Trump made the bizarre comment that Revolutionary War troops seized airports during the winter of 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 rockets' red glare, it had nothing but victory. And when dawn came, their star-spangled banner waved defiant," Trump said.
Obviously, airports didn’t exist in 1775. Hot-air balloons weren’t employed by American forces until the Civil War, and the first airport in the United States didn’t open until 1909. On Friday, Trump told reporters the bizarre comment was due to a malfunctioning teleprompter.
“The teleprompter went out, it went kaput. So I could have said — and actually right in the middle of sentence it went out. That’s not a good feeling,” Trump told reporters Friday morning as he departed the White House for his golf club in Bedminster, N.J. “I knew the speech very well so I was able to do it without a teleprompter. But the teleprompter did go out. And it was actually hard to look at anyway because it was rain all over it.”
Regardless of the reason, critics and meme-makers had a field day, turning Trump’s gaffe into a whirlwind of humorous images and jokes, causing #RevolutionaryWarAirportStories to trend on Twitter. One enterprising humorist even edited the Wikipedia page of the famed “Washington Crossing the Delaware” painting by artist Emanuel Leutze to imagine what an attack on the Philadelphia International Airport might have looked like:
Historian Seth Cotlar, a professor at Willamette University, speculated what airline restrictions might have sounded like back in the 18th century:
Many images of George Washington in and around the airport flooded social media, including at previously unheard-of Revolutionary War battles.
One widely shared meme pondered the notion that Washington’s faithful horse, Blueskin, might be allowed on the airplane as a emotional support animal.
There were also jokes galore:
Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump would regularly criticize both former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, his Democratic opponent, for using teleprompters for their speeches.