Mount Rushmore: Trump hosts 4 July celebration event amid criticism

Mount Rushmore: Trump hosts 4 July celebration event amid criticism

Yet another senior Donald Trump advisor has tested positive for COVID-19.

Thousands of people are expected to pack nearby streets to watch a military flypast and fireworks. Event organizers were to provide masks to anyone who wanted them and planned to screen attendees for symptoms of COVID-19.

Trump denounced "violent mayhem" on United States streets, though most demonstrations have been peaceful, and accused protesters of waging "a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children".

Trump in his speech also lashed out at the left-wing mobs and said, "This left-wing cultural revolution will never be allowed to destroy our way of life or take away our freedom". "Our children are taught in school to hate their own country". He did not provide further details.

Activist groups pledged to hold peaceful protests for reforms following the May killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes.

It comes after the President spent recent days tweeting about monuments and statues being torn down across the US.

"This attack on our liberty must be stopped, and it will be stopped", the president added.

In further contrast to Trump, Biden on Saturday focused his July Fourth message on racial justice and called on Americans to "commit to finally fulfill" America's founding principle that "all men are created equal". "If you do not speak its language, perform its rituals, recite its mantras, and follow its commandments then you will be censored, banished, blacklisted, persecuted and punished", he went on.

Four months from Election Day, US President Trump's comments amounted to a direct appeal to the political base, including many disaffected white votes, that carried him to the White House in 2016. The governor's spokesperson, Maggie Seidel, would not say whether the South Dakota National Guard was being deployed, but said organizers are making sure it is a safe event.

The president kicked off the holiday weekend by travelling to Mount Rushmore in South Dakota for a fireworks display on Friday night near the mountain carvings of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.

Cheryl Schreier, superintendent of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial from 2010 to 2019, admonished Trump for defying social distancing guidelines for an event she warned carried risks of spreading disease, triggering wildfires and contaminating groundwater.

Nor was there any evidence of social distancing in the tightly packed audience assembled for Trump's speech and a fireworks display.

A number of Native American protesters were arrested in the Black Hills National Forest, where Mount Rushmore is located, for attempting to block access to the famous monument.

Earlier today, US President Trump and first lady Melania Trump also attended South Dakota's US Independence Day Mount Rushmore fireworks celebrations in South Dakota.

More than 100 demonstrators, mostly Native Americans, lined the road leading from Keystone, South Dakota, to the monument on Friday, holding signs that read "Protect SoDak's First People" and "You Are On Stolen Land".

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