Once you reach adulthood, it’s only natural that some of what you learned over years of school will slip from memory. That was evident on Tuesday when some Twitter users became enraged at NPR for tweeting out the Declaration of Independence, failing to recognize the words of the historic document and instead assuming it was an attack on President Trump.
NPR has read the Declaration of Independence on air on July 4 for the last 29 years. This year, it decided to extend the tradition to Twitter, and posted the document line-by-line on the social media site. While the 113 tweets garnered a variety of reactions, the tweet that got a ton of buzz was the line of the Declaration that states:
A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
This tweet received more than 18,000 likes, 9,600 retweets and 235 replies, quite a few of which were not focused on the celebration of our nation's independence. Instead, some Trump supporters assumed the tweet was in reference to the current president, and shot back at NPR with choice words for its slew of patriotic tweets.
One user said "the media is the tyrant in this country" and to "get over the loss of your lying, criminal, murdering Hillary!" Others shot back with criticism of President Obama, presumably in defense of Trump.
But why did this specific tweet have such an instigating effect on Trump supporters? Trump supporters do not want to see the president likened to a tyrant, but this perception is nothing new. Trump has faced criticism for his actions and his praise of dictators, even from within his own party.
In May, Sen. John McCain called Trump's complimentary remarks for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "very disturbing." Late night host Jimmy Kimmel said the president had dictator-like tendencies after he fired former FBI director James Comey. And Fortune even ran an article analyzing how Trump "leads like a Middle East dictator," pointing to similarities like installing your family in government, hating on the media, and continuing to operate your own business while in office.
The line that drew ire, regarding a tyrannical prince who is not fit to rule, clearly shook some Trump supporters. And when put in the context of this nation's most politically symbolic holiday, it's no secret why casting Trump in King George's role would enrage those who support him.