In an impromptu press conference before boarding Marine One this morning, Donald Trump tried to defend his ridiculous Independence Day speech yesterday. But Trump only succeeded in making things worse for himself, in two ways. First, he revealed that his hypocrisy with teleprompters has come full circle. Second, Trump reinforced the notion that when it comes to the history of the country he was supposedly elected to govern, Trump knows less than your average first-grader.
“We had a lot of rain. I stood in the rain. The teleprompter went out,” Trump announced to the press and bystanders on the White House lawn. This news inspired one reporter to confront Trump about probably his most egregiously erroneous comment, which involved the existence of airports during the Revolutionary War. Trump then dished out his latest word salad to the assemblage:
“Yeah, the teleprompter went out. It kept going on and then at the end it just went out. It went kaput! So, I could have said, eh… and actually right in the middle of that sentence, it went out. And that’s not a good feeling. 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. So, uh, but, no, it’s—it’s not that. I knew the speech very well. So, I was able to do it without a teleprompter. But, uh, the teleprompter did go out. And it was actually hard to look at anyway because it was rain all over it. But, despite the rain, that was just a fantastic evening.”
We are all old enough to remember when Trump condemned the use of teleprompters. In March 2012, Trump tweeted, “Why does @BarackObama always have to rely on teleprompters?” Then, during the presidential campaign, he made a point of ridiculing Hillary Clinton for using them while claiming they should be outlawed. After falsely insisting that “I don’t use teleprompters” at a Massachusetts campaign rally in January 2016, Trump admitted to the National Rifle Association four months later that “I’ve started to use them a little bit,” noting: “They’re not bad. You never get yourself in trouble when you use a teleprompter.”
Trump’s response this morning to the report cemented his complete hypocrisy on teleprompters, as he revealed that he not only uses but relies on them. In the same breath, Trump also inadvertently managed to show us what a fool he is. He obviously wanted praise for thinking on his feet after his teleprompter blacked out on live TV. But even George W. Bush would not have improvised by claiming that the Continental Army “took over airports” (apparently with bayonets) in the 18th century. Trump may love to brag about his “very, very large brain” and top-secret “good marks,” but his true talent lies in reminding America what an abject dunce he is.