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About Trump’s Visit to Mount Vernon…

Gabriella Hoffman
by Gabriella Hoffman Read Profile arrow_right_alt

Last April, President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump were joined by French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte on a trip to George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate in Alexandria, VA.

POLITICO reported they had inside knowledge into what transpired during that April 2018 visit—suggesting Trump, “no student of history” they claim—had a “bizarre visit” to the first president’s home.

The alleged account read in part like this:

President Donald Trump had some advice for George Washington.

During a guided tour of Mount Vernon last April with French president Emmanuel Macron, Trump learned that Washington was one of the major real-estate speculators of his era. So, he couldn’t understand why America’s first president didn’t name his historic Virginia compound or any of the other property he acquired after himself.

“If he was smart, he would’ve put his name on it,” Trump said, according to three sources briefed on the exchange. “You’ve got to put your name on stuff or no one remembers you.”

The VIPs’ tour guide for the evening, Mount Vernon president and CEO Doug Bradburn, told the president that Washington did, after all, succeed in getting the nation’s capital named after him. Good point, Trump said with a laugh.

It continued:

The president’s disinterest in Washington made it tough for tour guide Bradburn to sustain Trump’s interest during a deluxe 45-minute tour of the property which he later described to associates as “truly bizarre.” The Macrons, Bradburn has told several people, were far more knowledgeable about the history of the property than the president.

A former history professor with a PhD, Bradburn “was desperately trying to get [Trump] interested in” Washington’s house, said a source familiar with the visit, so he spoke in terms Trump understands best — telling the president that Washington was an 18th century real-estate titan who had acquired property throughout Virginia and what would come to be known as Washington, D.C.

Trump asked whether Washington was “really rich,” according to a second person familiar with the visit. In fact, Washington was either the wealthiest or among the wealthiest Americans of his time, thanks largely to his mini real estate empire.

“That is what Trump was really the most excited about,” this person said.

It turns out this account was completely fabricated. Oh my. As Townhall’s Matt Vespa writes, those alleged sources’ account were complete “garbage.”

The Mount Vernon Ladies Association issued this strong rebuke of POLITICO’s reporting yesterday. Their statement reads like this:

Mount Vernon has a firm, long-standing policy of not commenting on the details of high-profile visits to the home of George Washington. However, we believe in the importance of ensuring that reports about events that take place at Mount Vernon are accurate. As such, we are concerned that the third-party accounts of the Trump-Macron visit released by several media outlets today do not correctly reflect the events that transpired nearly a year ago.

Mount Vernon President Doug Bradburn and Regent Sarah Coulson escorted the presidents and first ladies on a tour of the Mansion on April 23, 2018.  During the tour, all parties were interested and engaged in the story of George Washington and his beloved home.  Conversations touched on topics like business dealings, real estate, and related matters that were of relevance and interest to the touring parties, and questions were asked by both leaders with curiosity and respect. Comments pulled from sources who were not present for the tour do not properly convey the tone and context in which they were delivered. 

For more than 200 years, Mount Vernon has welcomed heads of state and world leaders, offering them a place to find inspiration in Washington’s example of servant leadership.  The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association is proud to have carried on that tradition of diplomacy during last year’s state visit, and we look forward to welcoming similar delegations for generations to come

Ouch. That’s pretty embarrassing for POLITICO. Issue a correction and take the L. This was a botched account of the truth.

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