President Donald Trump’s sometimes tone-deaf manner of speaking was on display again when he honored veterans of Pearl Harbor at an Oval Office ceremony Thursday. He referred to the surprise 1941 Japanese attack on the U.S. air base, which killed 2,400 Americans, destroyed nearly 200 aircraft and launched America into World War II, as a “pretty wild scene.”
“That was a pretty wild scene. You’ll never forget that, right?” he asked veteran George Blake.
Blake responded: “I’ve never forgotten.”
Trump also noted that another vet, Robert Fernandez, based on the record of his activities during the attack, “really gave it to ’em pretty good.”
Twitter jumped on Trump’s fanboy characterization of the battle, with one tweet sarcastically gushing about it being the “grooviest” since Antietam in the Civil War (in which it’s estimated more than 3,600 were killed).
Trump signed a presidential proclamation marking Dec. 7 as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. He also took the opportunity to make a political point.
“We are building up the military beyond what you ever thought,” he told one veteran. “It got depleted. You know what happened over the last... quite a long period of time. But not with us. Our budget’s now going to be higher than ever before... we’re doing a job.”
Check out Trump’s speech in the video above.
CORRECTION: This article previously misstated the estimated death toll at the Battle of Antietam as more than 22,000; that figure is the estimated total casualties, including wounded and missing.