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Mt. Vernon breaks its own protocol, sets record straight on Trump’s ‘respectful’ reaction to Washington’s estate

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Officials from George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon, just set the record straight on a “fake news” story by Politico about President Donald Trump’s “disinterest” when he visited the site last year.

The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, which organized the trip which included the president, First Lady Melania Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron, and French First Lady Brigitte Macron, took issue with the Politico report and its “third-party accounts.”

Politico’s Eliana Johnson and Daniel Lippman claimed in their article that Trump was not engaged and seemed to have little interest in the tour, citing anonymous “sources” who were not even present during the visit. And when the publication was called out, it chose to include the statement at the bottom of its article without any editor’s comments.

The article claimed that Mount Vernon president and CEO Doug Bradburn “was desperately trying to get [Trump] interested in” the historic landmark, and that Trump pointed out things that were wrong with the home of the first U.S. president, allegedly claiming he could have built a better house.

“If he was smart, he would’ve put his name on it,” the article claimed he said. “You’ve got to put your name on stuff or no one remembers you.”

According to Politico:

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.

 

CNN breathlessly reported on the “stunning” Politico story, with Wolf Blitzer declaring Trump “revealed his own ignorance about U.S. history” as the article’s author was questioned about the details.

But Mount Vernon officials were not about to let the story slide, along with all of its “sources” who were no doubt not fans of Trump.

“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,” the statement read.

“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,” it continued, explaining how  Bradburn and Regent Sarah Coulson escorted the group on the tour through the property last April.

“Comments pulled from sources who were not present for the tour do not properly convey the tone and context in which they were delivered,” the statement read, noting that “during the tour, all parties were interested and engaged in the story of George Washington and his beloved home,” and that “questions were asked by both leaders with curiosity and respect.”

Politico’s handling of the statement almost ensures that readers will be more focused on the original article than on the rebuttal of the facts as presented by Johnson and Lippman.

Twitter users reacted to the “fake news” and the rare statement from Mount Vernon.

Frieda Powers

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