Jul 4, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump casts himself as chief defender of American history in divisive speech at Rushmore

President Trump spoke out against a "merciless campaign" to wipe out American history during a Fourth of July celebration at Mount Rushmore.

Why it matters: Trump's "dark and divisive" speech comes as states continue to hit new coronavirus records and a national reckoning against racial inequities pushes forward, The New York Times writes. Trump's public approval is faltering heading toward the November elections, and he made an appeal to his base at Friday's spectacle, per The Washington Post.

What Trump is saying: Trump said a "left-wing cultural revolution is designed to overthrow the American Revolution." He barely mentioned the coronavirus, which has killed nearly 130,000 Americans, the Times notes.

"Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children. Many of these people have no idea why they are doing this, but some know exactly what they are doing."
"They think the American people are weak and soft and submissive.  But no, the American people are strong and proud, and they will not allow our country, and all of its values, history, and culture, to be taken from them."

The state of play: Mostly-Native American demonstrators lined the road leading to the monument ahead of the event, the AP reports.

  • The group protested against the use of fireworks, which have been banned from the area for more than a decade. They said the use of fireworks could lead to wildfires and contaminate the water in the area.
  • They also protested against the taking of the land from the Lakota people.

Go deeper: Trump's troubles grow, spread

Go deeper