Donald Trump celebrated Independence Day with a series of false and misleading claims that attempt to minimize the coronavirus pandemic and warned that China will be “responsible”.
The President of the United States hosted a “Salute to America” jamboree in the South Lawn of the White House with overpasses of military aircraft, parachute jumps, and patriotic songs, but little effort among guests to physically distance themselves or use facial masks.
The country has undergone amazing changes unthinkable when Trump hosted the first such event a year ago, on July 4, with tanks and other military equipment at the Lincoln Memorial. The coronavirus has infected 2.8 million Americans and killed nearly 130,000, the worst figures in the world.
Saturday’s national celebration was inevitably more subdued, but the president refused to let pandemics or lousy poll numbers rain down on his parade, waving to his wife, Melania, from the White House balcony and then walking down the southern lawn to receive applause and a shout of applause. : “Four more years!”
“We were hit by the virus that came from China,” the president said, prompting a strange cry and applause from the audience. “We have made a lot of progress. Our strategy is progressing well. He goes out in one area, he raises his ugly face in another area. But we have learned a lot. We have learned to put out the flame. “
The number of infections now regularly exceeds 50,000 per day, more than in April, when the United States was under first infection control. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease expert, warned this week: “I think it is pretty obvious that we are not going in the right direction.”
Trump returned to his now-familiar and unfounded complaint that the United States has a high number of cases because it conducts more tests. “We have now tested almost 40 million people. In doing so, we show cases, 99% of which are completely harmless. Results that no other country can show because no other country has the evidence we have, not in terms of numbers or quality. “
It was unclear how the president reached the harmless figure of “99%.”
He also returned to his criticism of the source of the coronavirus. “China’s secrecy, deceit and cover-up allowed it to spread worldwide. One hundred and eighty-nine countries and China must be fully responsible. “
There was applause from the guests, but so far the White House has not been able to detail what measures it is considering against Beijing, with which it recently reached a major trade deal.
And contradicting Fauci and other public health experts, the president offered a tremendously optimistic prediction: “We will probably have a therapeutic and / or vaccine solution long before the end of the year.” The presidential election is on November 3.
But most of Trump’s comments were a replay of a speech he made Friday night on Mount Rushmore, breaking with the July 4 tradition of trying to stoke a culture war and pouring salt on the racial wounds of United States instead of a unifying message.
“We are now in the process of defeating the radical left, the Marxists, the anarchists, the agitators, the looters and the people who in many cases have no idea what they are doing,” he said.
“We will never allow an angry crowd to tear down our statues, erase our history, indoctrinate our children, or trample on our liberties … We will teach our children to appreciate and worship our country so they can build their future.” Together, we will fight for the American dream. “
Trump expressly said that “our way of life” began in 1492 “when Columbus discovered America.” The statues of Christopher Columbus were demolished along with those of the Confederate generals during several weeks of protest against racial injustice after the police murder of George Floyd, an African American man, in Minneapolis.
Some have argued that instead of America’s family birthday in 1776, the nation really began in 1619 with the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in Virginia.
But Trump continued: “In every age, there have always been those who lie about the past to gain power in the present … His goal is demolition. Our goal is not to destroy the largest structure on earth, what we have built, the United States of America. “
Trump promoted an executive order he issued Friday to create a national garden of American heroes and rebuked the media for dishonoring, lying and slandering the best in the country. He added: “We will not shoot our heroes. We will honor them and prove ourselves worthy of their sacrifice … The patriots who built our country were not villains. They were heroes. “
Following their speech, Trump and the First Lady saw a spectacular display of military aircraft that have been involved in America’s military conflicts from WWII onward.