Donald Trump's speech sparks confusion as he claims Alexander Graham Bell was American

Donald Trump caused confusion online during his Fourth of July speech in Washington DC after he claimed Alexander Graham Bell was a great American inventor.

Trump's claim that Alexander Graham Bell (pictured) is American has become a subject of debate on Twitter.
Trump's claim that Alexander Graham Bell (pictured) is American has become a subject of debate on Twitter.

The U.S. President Donald Trump listed off a number of American pioneers who’ve changed the course of history, but his inclusion of the inventor of the telephone left many people taking to the internet to check the inventor's heritage.

Speaking in front of the Lincoln Memorial on Thursday, Mr Trump said: “Our quest for greatness unleashed a culture of discovery that led Thomas Edison to imagine his lightbulb, Alexander Graham Bell to create the telephone, the Wright Brothers to look to the sky and see the next great frontier."

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The speech quickly became a top trending search topic in Canada, while Scots took to the website to point out that he was born in Scotland.

DC based journalist @AlanFisher posted: "President just gave a shout out to Alexander Graham Bell as a great American. He was born in Scotland #justsaying"

While Canadian journalist @kathyenglish responded: "Those from my hometown #Brantford 'The Telephone City' will vehemently dispute this."

@leftcoastbabe wrote: "Guess no one told Trump that Alexander Graham Bell was an immigrant?"

The official account of the Canadian encyclopedia stated that Bell conceived the idea for the telephone while "watching currents in an Ontario river" but he divided his time between the US and Canada, adding: "We think we can split this one."

The truth is a little more complicated. Though born in 1847 in Edinburgh, Scotland, Bell moved to Brantford in Ontario, Canada with his parents in his twenties.

He later moved to Boston for work and officially became a naturalized American citizen after marrying his wife Mabel Hubbard.

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Though he began work on the idea in Canada, he was eventually granted a patent in the US for the telephone in 1876 (after a hotly contested race with fellow inventor Elisha Gray).

And even though the Bell Telephone Company was established in Boston, the man himself never fully identified as American.

Instead, according to journalist David Levesley, saw himself as a ‘native son’ of all three of the countries he lived in: the US, but also Canada and Scotland.

It's not the first time, Mr Trump has referred to Alexander Graham Bell as American, he first did it in his first presidential address to a joint session of Congress in March 2017.

The online debate led to Twitter user @ayews joking: "Well done to Alexander Graham Bell for simultaneously being Scottish, American and Canadian, also for both inventing and not inventing the telephone, impressive."