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Trump blames teleprompter for statement that Revolutionary War army ‘took over the airports’

President Trump.Alex Wong/Getty Images/Getty Images

President Trump said his teleprompter suffered a malfunction Thursday when he referred to the Continental Army taking over airports during his July 4 speech in Washington, D.C.

Speaking from the White House’s South Lawn on his way to his Bedminster, N.J., golf resort on Friday, Trump said the rain had been a factor in the malfunction, causing him to misspeak and claim the 18th-century army had seized airports as it liberated the colonies from the British. In the same passage, Trump also suggested British general Charles Cornwallis hailed from Yorktown, Va., when in fact George Washington’s army defeated Cornwallis at Yorktown.


“The Continental Army suffered a bitter winter at Valley Forge, found glory across the waters of the Delaware and seized victory from Cornwallis of Yorktown,” Trump said during his Independence Day speech. “Our Army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do.”

As he spoke, rain fell on the National Mall, Trump said it caused his teleprompter to malfunction.

“Actually right in the middle of that sentence, it went out,” Trump said when asked about the comment. “And that’s not a good feeling, when you’re standing in front of millions and millions of people on television.”

Trump’s speech was part of his July 4th “Salute to America,” which critics blasted as an attempt to politicize a nonpartisan holiday.

But Trump largely stuck to noncontroversial themes, lauding the military, praising prominent Americans through history, and avoiding the mudslinging typical of his campaign rallies.

Christina Prignano can be reached at christina.prignano@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @cprignano.