During his Fourth of July speech in Washington, D.C. on Thursday to celebrate the Salute to America, Donald Trump caused a bit of a frenzy among social media users, especially those north of the border who were perplexed over his remarks about the telephone.
While the president covered incredible American feats and patriots over the course of history who have changed the U.S. landscape, it was his comments about Alexander Graham Bell that captured the attention of those educated in basic history.
“Our quest for greatness unleashed a culture of discovery that led Thomas Edison to imagine his lightbulb, Alexander Graham Bell to create the telephone, the Wright brothers to look to the sky and see the next great frontier,” Trump said during his speech.
Twitter being an impressive gauge in today’s nanosecond society questioned the “quest for greatness” stemming from U.S. soil, with many noting how Trump was not correct in his assumption of Bell’s legacy.
Trump says that the United States's "quest for greatness" led to Alexander Graham Bell inventing the telephone. Canadians will angrily fact-check this.— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) July 4, 2019
President just gave a shout out to Alexander Graham Bell as a great American. He was born in Scotland #justsaying— Alan Fisher (@AlanFisher) July 4, 2019
The answer though, is fairly simple: Bell had triple-citizenship and spent a majority of his time between the U.K., Canada and the U.S. According to historical documents, Bell was born a U.K. citizen and moved to Brantford, Ontario with his parents when he was a teenager. Though he was an English subject in Canada, he considered being a Canadian citizen before the official creation of Canadian citizenship in 1947.
The inventor later moved to the U.S., teaching in Boston and becoming a naturalized American after marrying his wife, Mabel Hubbard. However, many will note that Bell actually split his time and research between Canada and the U.S., spending his summers in Ontario and Nova Scotia.
As the Canadian Encyclopedia notes, Bell’s “quest for greatness” was conceived by the inventor when he was watching currents in the Ontario river.
The remarks about Bell were not the only note of confusion from online users and Canadians. During his speech ahead of the Independence Day celebrations, Trump mentioned how America would be “going to be back on the Moon very soon, and someday soon, we will plant the American flag on Mars.”
The “promise” didn’t go over well with many on social media, especially since past research from NASA has declared the planet an even more “inhospitable Antarctica” with its unbreathable atmosphere. But while Trump has high hopes, last month he surprised Americans and the world when he tweeted how the moon was part of the planet, Mars.
“For all of the money we are spending, NASA should NOT be talking about going to the Moon - We did that 50 years ago. They should be focused on the much bigger things we are doing, including Mars (of which the Moon is a part), Defense and Science!” he wrote in the tweet.
Trump’s declaration stunned many Americans, space enthusiasts, scholars, children, and those around the world as the moon has not traditionally been regarded as part of Mars.
Photo credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images