Trump blames rain and teleprompter for his July 4 speech gaffe

President Trump on Friday blamed inclement weather and a malfunctioning teleprompter for flubbing part of his Independence Day speech. During the rain-soaked “Salute to America” event, Trump made a reference to nonexistent airports during the American Revolution, a comment he walked back a day later.

“We had a lot of rain,” Trump told reporters on the South Lawn. “I stood in the rain. The teleprompter went out. The teleprompter kept going out and then at the end it just went out. It went kaput.”

In his July 4 speech, the president recalled the creation of the Army by the Continental Congress in 1775.

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WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04: President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump take the stage on July 04, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump is holding a "Salute to America" celebration on the National Mall on Independence Day this year with musical performances, a military flyover, and fireworks. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04: President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump take the stage on July 04, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump is holding a "Salute to America" celebration on the National Mall on Independence Day this year with musical performances, a military flyover, and fireworks. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump gives First Lady Melania Trump a kiss as he arrives to speak at the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by Susan Walsh / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read SUSAN WALSH/AFP/Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump and Vice President Mike Pence applaud during the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04: President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump take the stage on July 04, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump is holding a "Salute to America" celebration on the National Mall on Independence Day this year with musical performances, a military flyover, and fireworks. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
Guest cheer as US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive for the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive for the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04: President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump take the stage on July 04, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump is holding a "Salute to America" celebration on the National Mall on Independence Day this year with musical performances, a military flyover, and fireworks. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
Guest cheer as US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive for the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04: President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump take the stage on July 04, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump is holding a "Salute to America" celebration on the National Mall on Independence Day this year with musical performances, a military flyover, and fireworks. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, US Vice President Mike Pence (L) and acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper (R), among others, watch as the US Navy Blue Angels flyover during the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by Susan Walsh / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read SUSAN WALSH/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, US Vice President Mike Pence (L) and acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper (R), among others, watch as the US Navy Blue Angels flyover during the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by Susan Walsh / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read SUSAN WALSH/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (R) and First Lady Melania Trump walk onstage during the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (C-L) and First Lady Melania Trump stand onstage with others during the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04: First Lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Second Lady Karen Pence and Tiffany Trump watch as military aircraft fly over during the "Salute to America" ceremony in front of the Lincoln Memorial, on July 4, 2019 in Washington, DC. The presentation featured armored vehicles on display, a flyover by Air Force One, and several flyovers by other military aircraft. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04: First Lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Second Lady Karen Pence and Tiffany Trump listen as President Donald Trump delivers remarks at the "Salute to America" ceremony in front of the Lincoln Memorial, on July 4, 2019 in Washington, DC. The presentation featured armored vehicles on display, a flyover by Air Force One, and several flyovers by other military aircraft. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04: President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump exit after the "Salute to America" ceremony in front of the Lincoln Memorial, on July 4, 2019 in Washington, DC. The presentation features armored vehicles on display, a flyover by Air Force One, and several flyovers by other military aircraft. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04: President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence stand on stage after President Donald Trump spoke at the "Salute to America" ceremony in front of the Lincoln Memorial, on July 4, 2019 in Washington, DC. The presentation featured armored vehicles on display, a flyover by Air Force One, and several flyovers by other military aircraft. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump (C) is escorted to the stage during the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (L) and First Lady Melania Trump leave after attending the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (L) and First Lady Melania Trump leave after attending the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (L) and US First Lady Melania Trump arrive for the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive to the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive at the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive to "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive to "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive to "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
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“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,” Trump said. “Our Army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do.”

There was no air travel during the Revolutionary War. Wilbur and Orville Wright invented and flew the first airplane in 1903.

Trump said the teleprompter malfunctioned during his prepared remarks, resulting in the mistake.

“Actually right in the middle of that sentence it went out,” he said Friday. “And that’s not a good feeling.”

Trump continued: “When you’re standing in front of millions and millions of people on television and — I don’t know what the final count was, but that went all the way back to the Washington Monument. And I guess the rain knocked out the teleprompter.”

Still, Trump insisted he “knew the speech very well.”

“So I was able to do it without a teleprompter,” he said. “So the teleprompter did go out. And it was actually hard to look at anyway because there was rain all over it.”

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