Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said last week that Chicago has airports “named after battleships”—but facts are tricky when you don’t know them.
Emanuel traded on his relationship with President Obama while answering a question at a candidate forum, when he suggested the possibility of naming one of Chicago’s airports in Obama’s honor, the Chicago Tribune reported.
“We have to, in some way, whether it’s President Obama or in the other case, Dr. Brazier, acknowledge people who have done significant things. We have an airport, two of them, named after, you know, Midway Airport, O’Hare Airport,” Emanuel said. “These are people who have been transformative in the city of Chicago. But we have airports named after battleships.”
After failing to win an absolute majority during November’s general election, incumbent Emanuel is in a hotly-contested runoff against Jesús “Chuy” Garcia, a Cook County commissioner and former state senator (a position Obama also held).
The Tribune pointed out Emanuel’s historical error, correctly reporting that O’Hare is named after decorated World War II Navy pilot Edward “Butch” O’Hare, and Midway is named in remembrance of the 1942 battle in the Pacific—neither airport is named after a battleship.
Twitter users were quick to mock Emanuel’s lack of historical knowledge.
— Bernie Cicirello (@ChicagoBernie) March 26, 2015
— Taniel (@Taniel) March 26, 2015
Sure, why the hell not: Rahm floats idea of renaming O’Hare (for WW2 flying hero Butch O’Hare) “Obama International” http://t.co/PP9jDxmhrC
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) March 28, 2015
Some were offended at the mayor’s disrespect for our WWII heroes.
— Advocate Mom (@SpeakingOut59) March 28, 2015
— CTIronman (@CTIronman) March 28, 2015
And the cynics also chimed in.
@iowahawkblog Might I suggest Tripoli international airport be renamed “Obama/Clinton International Airport”?
— Sandy (@RightGlockMom) March 28, 2015
@iowahawkblog only if they rename Midway for the Battle of Benghazi
— Michael Gebert (@skyfullofbacon) March 28, 2015
The perfect tribute to Obama might not be an airport after all.
@iowahawkblog I bet the airport golf course would be beautiful
— John Groves (@jfgroves) March 28, 2015
Emanuel’s staff later walked back the mayor’s impromptu remarks, stating that the mayor has no plans to rename either airport. “Look, I made a mistake, and I was quick to change it. I’m not perfect,” Emanuel said.