Oh Glenn, we can’t believe you’d mislead us like that!
During his much-ballyhooed “Restoring Honor” rally on Saturday, Glenn Beck told a whopper involving the founding father who was supposedly unable to tell a lie: George Washington.
Speechifying at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial, the controversial Fox News host highlighted the legacy of the nation’s first president to drive home his claim that encouraging honesty and integrity was a main aim of the event. Beck even told attendees that “the next George Washington” was “in this crowd. He may be 8 years old, but this is the moment. This is the moment that he dedicates his life, that he sees giants around him. And 25 years from now, he will come not to this stair, but to those stairs. And he can proclaim, ‘I have a new dream.'”
Beck also invoked Washington while describing the inspiring experience of visiting famous tourist destinations around the nation’s capital. “I have been going to Mt. Vernon,” he explained. Holding out his hands for emphasis, he declared with emotion, “I went to the National Archives, and I held the first inaugural address written in his own hand by George Washington.”
It was an eyebrow-raising revelation and certainly an original image: Beck cradling the actual words of the first president. But would the persnickety gatekeepers of the nation’s historical legacy at the National Archives allow some talk show bombthrower to put his mitts on a rare (and fragile) artifact? The answer, it turns out, is no way. Beck was not telling the truth.
Beck did receive a special VIP tour of the archives, arranged by an as-yet unidentified member of Congress. During that tour, he did get a peek inside the “legislative vault,” which isn’t open to ordinary visitors. But Archives spokeswoman Susan Cooper insists that Beck didn’t lay a finger on any precious documents, much less George Washington’s inaugural address. That would be a major violation of policy. “Those kinds of treasures are only handled by specially trained archival staff,” she explains. Cooper acknowledges that someone at the archives did show the document to Beck, but that was the extent of it. Regarding Beck’s claim that he held the document, Cooper says that seeing such documents for the first time can be a very emotional experience. “I’m certain it was a figure of speech,” she says.
I can’t believe he would lie to us. I’m so sad!