On Sunday night, shortly after the Kansas City Chiefs pulled off a comeback win over the San Francisco 49ers, President Trump, hero of the heartland, tweeted his congratulations to the team and to the great state of Kansas for the Super Bowl victory. Electorally, it may have been a strong decision, shoring up his solid 2016 margin in the Sunflower State. Geographically, it was a little off the mark, as the Kansas City Chiefs play in Kansas City, Missouri.
The tweet was deleted and replaced with the Chiefs’ correct home state in 11 minutes, which could only have been a harrowing experience for the aide that had to inform the president of yet another basic failure of geography. Prior to the Super Bowl, Trump’s most recent miss on the American map came at a rally in October, when he promised to stifle undocumented migration from Mexico and Central America by building a wall on the border of Colorado. (His administration isn’t doing so hot either, given that the assumption underlying Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s daring a foreign-policy reporter to find Ukraine on a map is that it would be a difficult task.) Beyond the American border, the president has struggled as well: He once invented the country of “Nambia,” and reportedly did not know that Nepal or Bhutan existed.
But the most obvious touchstone for the unforced error was the president’s bizarre spectacle from September, when he insisted that the American people accept as real his Sharpie-doctored map showing that Hurricane Dorian could make landfall in Alabama. After the Super Bowl tweet, predictions soon came in of how Trump might explain away his mistake by bending political reality:
Naturally, the president’s most ardent defenders were more than willing to deflect any criticism. On Fox & Friends Monday morning, Steve Doocy explained his error away.
And Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, somehow tried to position Trump’s mistake as heartland wisdom.