President Donald Trump on Saturday criticized American progressives, protesters and the media by celebrating July 4 with a “Salute to the United States” on the South Lawn of the White House.
The attack that started on Friday night at the foot of Mount Rushmore continued, portraying those protesting the death of George Floyd and tearing down monuments as enemies of the nation.
“We are now in the process of defeating the radical left, Marxists, anarchists, agitators, looters, and people who in many cases have no idea what they are doing,” Trump said from a podium with the first lady. Melania Trump sitting. near.
The invitation-only event occurred during some of the worst days of the coronavirus pandemic, but it did not have the crowd density of Mount Rushmore speech. Saturday’s attendees included members of the police, military and their families, and doctors and nurses.
Trump lashed out at the protests, which most Americans support and continue more than a month after Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody.
“We will never allow an angry crowd to tear down our statutes, erase our history, indoctrinate our children, or trample on our liberties,” Trump said. “We will protect our values, traditions, customs and beliefs.”
Trump lashed out at the media for what he said was slander against himself, the American people, and “the generations that gave their lives for the United States.”
Statues of Confederate leaders who fought for slavery have been a major target of the protesters’ takedowns, and Trump said Saturday that the media has participated in the desecration by slandering those who died in the Civil War.
“You slander their memory by insisting that they fought for oppression and racism,” Trump said. “You slander people much braver and more principled than you.”
He recited the names of the Americans he said would be honored in a National Statues Garden he announced on Friday by executive order. They include Susan B. Anthony, Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, Frederick Douglass, Amelia Earhart, and Harriet Tubman.
“The patriots who built our country were not villains,” Trump said, “they were heroes.”
As calls for police reform continue across the country, he praised officials and said many have been “facing violent attacks by very bad people.”
He blamed China for the struggles with COVID-19, as the United States leads the world in cases with more than 2.8 million.
“China must be fully responsible,” he said.
Trump promised a vaccine “long before the end of the year,” an optimistic estimate shared by few medical experts.
He ended his speech by saying, “Our country is in excellent shape.”
Winston Wilde contributed