A lot of people decided to ignore Trump’s planned “festivities” yesterday in protest of him commandeering the holiday for his own campaign and ego purposes. I was planning on ignoring everything, too, but so many ridiculous and concerning things happened, that I’ve decided to recount them quickly for you so that you are in the know, but also don’t feel like you’ve gotten too dirty. You’re welcome.
Trump hit the ground running with an early morning promo tweet talking about “Aircraft One” instead of calling his own plane by its proper title. In all fairness, I was a little grateful for this snafu, because it reminded me to watch one of my favorite movies, Air Force One, later that night.
Some protestors turned out, although not to the level of any of the previous Marches, and I’m pretty sure the logic behind it was that it would offend Trump more to be ignored. People were dispersed all over the mall and the Code Pink Trump baby balloon that is often seen in London did make an appearance.
The rain was another major issue, (click on all of these posted tweets to view the video) because it started in the late morning and didn’t stop. It just kept raining…
…and raining, and raining and by afternoon, thunder and lighting storms were on full display.
What was also interesting was the arrangement of the bleachers at the Lincoln Memorial in the very front and the placement of the tanks that Trump had been going on and on about. In a grand stroke of irony, fences were placed around the Reflecting Pool to kept non-ticket-holders away from the memorial and given the potential for lightning in the forecast, the excessive use of more metal in the pool was a questionable move.
The ticket-holding section looked like a costly VIP lounge for Trump’s personal cronies at taxpayer expense and as the day progressed, it became more apparent that this was really just an intimate little rally just for his people that would happen to be televised by CNN, as if it were actually for everyone.
The much-discussed tanks were also behind the fences, which meant the vast majority of his supporters couldn’t get to or even see them. All of the things pictured below were fenced off to the public and obstructed by stage scaffolding.
Of course there were lots of pro-Trump vendors and people there to support both Trump and the First Lady. It would have been nice if his supporters understood basic grammar, specifically when and when not to use an apostrophe.
Then there was the QAnon John F. Kennedy Jr. thing. Stay with me, this one will be hard to believe, but QAnon fans hit the Trump hotel with T-shirts of John F. Kennedy Jr. wearing a MAGA hat because they were convinced he was going to make an appearance at the Lincoln Memorial…on stage…during Trump’s speech.
Lots and lots of MAGA JFK on a stick started showing up all over the mall in anticipation of that moment when he emerged on stage as part of a wide-ranging deep-state conspiracy to prosecute Democrats for child-sex slavery. Don’t ask me anymore about the rationale on why JFK would be a Trump Republican or have gone to the effort to “fake” his death for 20 years just to show up now, for this unimpressive moment. The only thing I can figure (bear with me I am applying logic to people who use none) is that they think besmirching JFK or acting like he would support them would anger liberals. I have no more answers on this one, I’m as baffled as you are.
Spoiler alert: John F. Kennedy Jr. did not show up.
It started to pour rain well before Trump’s scheduled speech time and a lot of attendees made a break for it when they realized they couldn’t get into the restricted area to really see anything. Once Trump began his speech, he was standing behind plexiglass-glass so even the television cameras were obscured by drizzling rain. Trump used a TelePrompTer, which might lead you to believe that this would keep him on track and help him to be as accurate as possible, but…no.
Our Commander in Chief, who received five deferments for Vietnam due to suspicious bone spurs, encouraged people to “make a great statement in life” and join the military. His cadence was awkward and broken and he looked as uncomfortable as I’m sure all of the attendees felt. His speech, which was likely written after Stephen Miller googled Colonial History rather than learning it, was riddled with errors and mispronunciations and I will summarize the biggest mistakes for you:
Trump: “On this day, 243 years ago, our Founding Fathers pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to declare independence and defend our God-given rights.”
Nope. The Continental Congress voted to declare independence from Great Britain on July 2, 1776. On July 4, the Continental Congress only approved the final text of the Declaration of Independence. They actually declared independence on July 2nd and didn’t ratify it with signatures until August 2nd.
Trump also wasn’t convincing that he knows who “Frederick Douglass, the great Frederick Douglass” is still.
And then there were the airports…watch this video clip I posted in a tweet below first. You have to. You really, really have to:
Here is a transcript of what he actually said: “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. 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 [unclear], it [unclear] 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.”
There are so many errors here, so let’s jump right in:
British General Cornwallis was defeated at Yorktown but he was from London, which would make him General Cornwallis of London.
The Continental Army wasn’t named after Washington. Trump seemed very confused and disoriented throughout his speech and it was obvious the TelePrompTer was throwing him off so maybe he mis-spoke and used the wrong verb. Or maybe his speechwriter, likely Stephen Miller, really doesn’t know the accurate history.
He combines two separate wars, fought decades apart. Valley Forge, crossing the Delaware and Yorktown all occurred during the Revolutionary War, which began in 1775. But then Trump mentions Fort McHenry and the battle that inspired the national anthem, an event that occurred in 1814 during the War of 1812.
I’m sure he means “Fort McHenry” here and is just struggling to read, but in the audio you can hear that he pronounces it “Fort McHendry.”
Trump claims that the soldiers in one of these battles, either in 1775 or 1814 took over the airports. The airports. This is made even stranger by the fact that Trump specifically mentions that the Wright brothers first flew at Kitty Hawk in 1903.
It’s as if he didn’t even know what was in his own speech or understand what he was saying. Which leads us now to a very familiar state of not knowing whether or not to laugh or be extremely worried at the mental state of the President of the United States.
On a lighter note, Bette Middler was clearly over it, too and took to Twitter to tell people off and that provided some much needed laughs:
Another contender for the funniest tweet was when Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who has so many racist positions that the New York Times had to make a timeline for them, got fantastically trolled. Someone asked for a shoutout re-tweet on Twitter for “his uncle” who was really Jack Nicholson’s character in A Few Good Men and King actually fell for it. He deleted it when he figured it out, but not before we could all screen grab it for the ages and laugh…super hard. He even used his initials after the tweet to indicate that he was sending the message personally. Too good.
The whole fiasco that was the 4th of July this year seemed to digress into such a cluster, that I couldn’t resist in joining in:
Happy Independence Day to us all and to any of you watching from another country, this is not us, we are doing the best we can and we are so very sorry. If you could just put that apology on refrain for the next few years, that would be great. Here’s to better days and never losing sight of what our beautiful country truly stands for and how much we love her. Until then, keep laughing, because sadly, it’s all we have.
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Amee Vanderpool writes the “Shero and a Scholar” Newsletter and is an attorney, published author, contributor to magazines and newspapers and analyst for BBC radio. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @girlsreallyrule.