Trump blasts 'left-wing cultural revolution' at Mount Rushmore

Henrietta Strickland
July 4, 2020

Speaking underneath the famed landmark depicting four USA presidents, Trump warned that the demonstrations over racial inequality threatened the foundations of the US political system.

The event drew 7,500 people, packed tightly into an amphitheater. Masks will be available but are not required.

The virus has even reached Mr Trump's inner circle.

President Donald Trump has used a speech on the eve of American Independence Day to criticise protesters calling for racial justice, accusing them of "a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children". She and Trump Jr. often headline fundraising events together.

Despite 91 people dying in South Dakota of COVID-19, the event was attended by over 7000 spectators without means of social distancing. "We're asking them to come, be ready to celebrate, to enjoy the freedoms and the liberties that we have in this country", Noem said in an interview with Fox News on Monday.

Why is the location controversial?

A sign outside of a ranger station describes the fire danger as high in the Black Hills near Mount Rushmore National Monument on in Custer, S.D., on Friday.

Both Washington and Jefferson, revered for their roles in the founding of the nation, were slave owners.

There are also concerns about wildfires in surrounding areas sparked by fireworks.

Police and National Guard soldiers moved in, and a standoff ensued, with police using pepper spray on several protesters.

The vans were towed away and several protesters were arrested after the police declared the road block an "unlawful assembly", local newspaper the Argus Leader reported.

The confrontation unfolded hours before Trump's planned fiery Fourth of July speech at the national monument including denunciations of protesters he says are trying to "tear down" the nation's history.

The faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln were carved into the mountain in the 1920s, with each of the heads almost 18.3 meters (60 feet) high.

Kimberly Guilfoyle, a former Fox News television personality who is dating Donald Trump Jr, had traveled to South Dakota to see the USA president's Fourth of July speech and celebration fireworks at Mount Rushmore.

"Make no mistake", Trump told several thousand people, packed tightly into the amphitheater near the monument, mostly without masks, chanting "USA" as they cheered him on, "this left-wing cultural revolution is created to overthrow the American Revolution".

Once Trump's speech concluded, fireworks were set to explode over Mount Rushmore for the first time in a decade after they were banned during the Obama administration amid environmental concerns.

Friday's event is the latest to be held by President Trump during the coronavirus pandemic, as he attempts to fire up his supporters ahead of November's presidential election. He has been criticized for holding large events with little social distancing in Oklahoma and Arizona in recent weeks.

On a day when seven US states posted a record number of new COVID-19 cases, the pandemic moved further into Trump's inner circle.

What have Native Americans said about the event?

They have criticised Trump's visit for increasing the risk of spreading COVID-19 and for celebrating USA independence in an area that is sacred to them.

Some indigenous groups used Trump's visit to protest the Mount Rushmore memorial itself, insisting that the Black Hills, where the monument is located, were taken from the native Lakota people.

Harold Frazier, chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe, said that "The president is putting our tribal members at risk to stage a photo op at one of our most sacred sites".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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