From the Left



A key place for Trump: If only he knew

Jamie Stiehm on

Political wisdom says the 2020 election is simple: a referendum on President Donald Trump, even if he ran against the village idiot. It's about the strong feelings he stirs up.

You have your unforgettable Trump moments. I have mine. The nation's would fill a salty sea. Memorial Day in Baltimore made me see red, white and blue.

Baltimore's mayor, Bernard C. "Jack" Young, asked Trump not to visit in the coronavirus crisis. The suffering city is under stay-at-home orders. Defying Young, Trump came to the harbor city he insulted last summer. He landed, brandishing bluster after a pandemic weekend of golf and tweeting.

The president had to be seen at historic Fort McHenry on Memorial Day. The star-shaped fort is where Baltimore defenders witnessed the "rocket's red glare" and "the bomb bursting in air."

There the American president told a tale about the national anthem that was -- wait for it -- lazy and wrong. He bungled the story of "The Star-Spangled Banner" composer Francis Scott Key. Key witnessed the "dawn's early light" after the Battle of Baltimore late in the summer of 1814.

British navy ships bombarded Baltimore in a night attack after redcoat soldiers burned the White House and Capitol. Baltimore prevailed after Washington was attacked and President James Madison escaped on horseback. The War of 1812 ended.


That was the pride of Baltimore. And I know too much about charming Key to give the president a pass.

First, the lawyer wasn't fighting in the battle, as Trump said. Nor was Key standing on any "grounds." He was floating on a neutral vessel in the water, with a front-row view of the fury. (He meant to free a doctor held as a prisoner of war.)

Seeing the battle flag flying from the fort in the silent morning sky indeed inspired Key to pen the patriotic verses that very day.

For the president to make a sloppy speech is no surprise, but you'd think his staff would get facts straight.


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