Historian scolds George Washington in WHCA dinner joke mocking Trump’s Mount Vernon comment

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President Donald Trump attracted some derision recently for his posthumous advice for George Washington.

He reportedly quipped that the first president could have earned more notoriety by branding his home.

“If he was smart, he would’ve put his name on it,” Trump is quoted as saying about Mount Vernon.

As the speaker at this week’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner, historian Ron Chernow invoked that quote.

While this year marked a diversion as organizers eschewed a focus on comedy, he nevertheless landed a punchline.

“As best I can tell, Washington committed only one major blunder as president,” Chernow said. “He failed to put his name on Mont Vernon and thereby bungled an early opportunity at branding. Clearly deficient at the art of the deal, the poor man had to settle at the lowly title of ‘father of his country.'”

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