as he vows to hunt down rioters with federal law enforcement at Mount Rushmore on the eve of the Fourth of July
- President Trump spoke at Mount Rushmore Friday evening to headline a Fourth of July event
- He blasted the ‘left-wing cultural revolution,’ a knock at the Black Lives Matter protests, and said their goal was to overthrow the American Revolution
- As coronavirus cases have spiked around the country, Trump has focused on culture war issues like Confederate monuments and Black Lives Matter
- His decision to hold back-to-back Fourth of July events in South Dakota and Washington, D.C. has concerned public health officials
- South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem isn’t enforcing social distancing at the Friday night speech nor is she making mask-wearing mandatory
President Trump gave a fiery address at Mount Rushmore Friday night claiming that the ‘left-wing cultural revolution’ aimed to overthrow the American Revolution, painting a dark picture of the Black Lives Matter protests that have rocked the nation.
On the eve of the Fourth of July holiday, Trump’s message was about us versus them, calling those who didn’t support him ‘bad, evil people.’
He tossed red meat to a packed crowd of supporters – a majority of whom were not wearing masks nor practicing social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 – telling them ‘we will never abolish the police’ and ‘we stand tall we stand proud and we only kneel to almighty God.’
And Trump vowed to deploy federal law enforcement ‘to protect our monuments, arrest the rioters and prosecute offenders to the furthest extent of the law.’
He promised Mount Rushmore, which loomed above him, would never be touched.
‘This monument will never be desecrated, these heroes will never be defaced, their legacy will never ever be destroyed, their achievements will never be forgotten and Mount Rushmore will stand forever as an eternal tribute to our forefathers and to our freedom,’ the president said in the opening minutes.
President Trump painted a dark picture of the Black Lives Matter protests that have rocked the nation by saying they were a product of the ‘left-wing cultural revolution’ meant to overthrow the American Revolution
President Trump (left) and first lady Melania Trump (right) arrive at Mount Rushmore for a Fourth of July event
Mount Rushmore can be seen above President Trump (left) and first lady Melania Trump (right)
The president’s focus has been on culture war issues in recent days and he continued with that theme Friday night.
‘Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our founders, deface our most sacret memorials and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities,’ he said.
‘Many of these people have no idea why they’re doing this, but some know exactly what they’re doing,’ he continued.
‘They think the American people are weak and soft and submissive,’ he said.
‘But no, the American people are strong and proud and they wll not allow our country and all of its values, history and culture to be taken from them,’ he said, raising his voice.
The president also took on ‘cancel culture,’ calling it ‘very definition of totalitarianism.’
He called the left’s version of history a ‘a web of lies.’
And talked about each of the presidents who loomed on Mount Rushmore over his head: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt.
‘No movement that seeks to dismantle these treasured American legacies can possibly have a love of America at its heart’ he said.
Black Lives Matter protesters have focused on tearing down statues, mainly of Confederate figures, because of their links to white supremacy.
The event kicked off with patriotic tunes, flyovers and messages from servicemembers from South Dakota.
‘South Dakota is a state that prides itself on the close-knit nature of our communities,’ said South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem greeting attendees. ‘Tonight if you look to your left, if you look to your right, you’re going to see that this crowd isn’t just from South Dakota, it’s from everywhere around this nation.’
Former ‘Entertainment Tonight’ host Mary Hart, a former Miss South Dakota, served as emcee for the night.
First daughter Tiffany Trump and boyfriend Michael Boulos traveled to Mount Rushmore with the family.
Former press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her family were also on hand.
Kim Guilfoyle, the girlfriend of President Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr., who holds a position with the campaign, tested positive for the coronavirus in South Dakota ahead of Friday night’s festivities, DailyMail.com confirmed.
Donald Trump Jr. tested negative. Eric Trump and Lara Trump were spotted in the audience at the event.
Supporters didn’t wear masks to attend Friday night’s event with the president and first lady at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota amid the coronavirus outbreak
Former ‘Entertainment Tonight’ host and an ex-Miss South Dakota Mary Hart served as an emcee for the night
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem pointed out how the packed crowd at Mount Rushmore was from ‘everywhere around this nation’
The president and first lady arrive at Mount Rushmore for the Fourth of July festivites, which kicked off with military flyovers, patriotic music and messages from servicemembers from South Dakota
President Trump’s supporters didn’t wear mask or stay six feet apart at Friday night’s Fourth of July festivities at Mount Rushmore
President Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrived in South Dakota ahead of his remarks and a fireworks show at Mount Rushmore
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (right) greets the Trumps at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota Friday night
First dauhter Tiffany Trump (left) and her boyfriend Michael Boulos (right) arrive in South Dakota ahead of her father’s remarks at Mount Rushmore
Tiffany Trump (left), Eric Trump (center) and his wife Lara Trump (right) say hi to the crowd Friday night at Mount Rushmore
President Trump spoke to reporters directly before he boarded Air Force One to head to Mount Rushmore to deliver a speech and watch fireworks
President Trump gives a wave as he boards Air Force One to participate in his first of two Fourth of July events
Trump will make remarks at Mount Rushmore on Friday, July 3 – where the state says the crowd will be limited to 7,500 attendees
First lady Melania Trump (right) is accompanying President Trump (left) on his Friday night trip to Mount Rushmore where he’ll take on protesters who want to ‘tear down’ the nation’s history
President Trump also told reporters that he thought the U.S. economy was in good shape and there would be a ‘V shape’ recovery amid coronavirus cases spiking around the country
First lady Melania Trump arrives at Joint Base Andrews Friday evening ahead of the president’s speech at Mount Rushmore
A sign outside of a ranger station describes the fire danger as high in the Black Hills near Mount Rushmore National Monument. Trump’s event has been criticized because the fireworks could spark a forest fire
Trump supporters on horseback go through Keystone, South Dakota ahead of his planned appearance Friday night at Mount Rushmore
Protesters also gathered ahead of President Trump’s visit, includinfg those representing different local tribes
Guilfoyle hadn’t had contact with the president.
Prior to leaving for the trip, Trump talked about how Mount Rushmore was in ‘good shape.’
‘We’re going to Mount Rushmore. Mount Rushmore is in great shape and it’s going to be in great shape for centuries to come,’ the president told reporters on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews before he left. ‘I’ll be making a speech there. I’ll be seeing a lot of people, a lot of different people and I think it will be a fantastic evening.’
Trump’s allusion to Mount Rushmore’s staying power was a preview of the speech he plans to deliver that will focus on condemning protesters who want to ‘tear down’ the nation’s history.
As the coronavirus crisis has continued to loom, the president has leaned into culture war themes, including the preservation of Confederate monuments, which have come under assault in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death and the subsequent ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests.
The White House has argued that if military bases and statues are renamed and removed, it will be a slippery slope to figures like George Washington, whose bust is on Mount Rushmore, being ‘erased.’ Washington was a slave-owner, as was Thomas Jefferson, who’s also on the South Dakota sculpture.
The Associated Press reported Friday that Trump plans to go after the ‘left wing mob and those practicing cancel culture,’ according to a person familiar with his remarks.
And he’ll condemn ‘totalitarian behavior that is completely alien to American life.’
On the tarmac, the president also touted the economic recovery, saying the econmy is ‘doing very well.’
‘I think we will have a V-shape,’ he added, meaning that the economy will come back as quickly as it fell.
While in his motorcade before departure, Trump tweeted out a number of Congressional endorsements, including for former White House doctor Ronny Jackson, who he originally endorsed in February, and also Rep. Jeff Van Drew, the New Jersey Democrat-turned-Republican who voted against the president’s impeachment.
Earlier Friday, the president played golf at his Virginia club.
Trump has tried to stick to culture war themes and the economy instead of talking about the rise in coronavirus cases, which topped 50,000 new cases a day earlier this week.
But public health experts have warned that his back-to-back Fourth of July events could only make things worse.
Dr. Anthony Fauci was asked about Trump’s trip to South Dakota on Wednesday, and while he didn’t criticize it directly, he suggested it wasn’t smart to go.
‘You should avoid whenever possible gathering in crowds where people cannot maintain physical distance,’ Fauci said.
‘Avoid crowds, wear a mask, keep physical distance,’ the doctor continued during an Instagram Q&A with former CNN White House Correspondent Jessica Yellin. ‘It doesn’t matter what the reason for the congregation, whether it’s a celebration here, the demonstration there. It doesn’t make any difference – wear a mask.’
Similarly, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said that she warned the Department of the Interior about having Saturday’s Fourth of July event in Washington, D.C.
The president and first lady will present a ‘Salute to America’ from the White House’s South Lawn and the Ellipse. There will be military flyovers and, later, the annual fireworks display.
Bowser said the event was against CDC guidelines and could cause a spike in COVID-19.
Earlier Friday, President Trump visited his Sterling, Virginia golf course for a game of golf. Here he’s captured returning to the White House
President Trump returns to the White House Friday after a trip to his Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia
President Donald Trump is beginning Fourth of July weekend with a fireworks display at Mount Rushmore. Pictured: Fireworks over Mount Rushmore National Memorial, July 2004
Activists hold signs during a protest at Mount Rushmore National Monument in Keystone, South Dakota on July 3
About $600,000 is being spent on the display, including $350,000 for the actual fireworks and $3,500 on portable toilets. Pictured: Mike Harris, a retired over-the-road truck driver and registered Republican, shares his views about President Trump with motorists heading toward Mount Rushmore National Monument, July 2
Supporters of US President Donald Trump wave flags on a road in Keystone, South Dakota, on July 3
Health experts say the event could lead to a spike in cases, and put not only attendees but also workers at risk. Pictured: Visitors look at Mount Rushmore National Monument, July 2
The fireworks at Friday night’s event in South Dakota are problematic too because they could cause a fire.
Trump previously blew this warning off saying, ‘What can burn? It’s stone.’
But one former park official said that the event will ‘endanger public safety’ and it will be ‘extremely difficult’ to evacuate crowds in case of an emergency.
The crowd will be limited to 7,500 attendees.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem also said that there would not be social distancing put in place at the event, but they would be giving out free masks.
The cost of the event has also raised eyebrows.
TMZ obtained documents showing the Friday night fireworks display will cost a little under $600,000.
The display itself cost $350,000, paid to a company called Pyro Spectaculars.
An environmenal consulting firmer named Ero Resources Corporation was paid $138,800 to work on the event. Security and screening will cost $33,000. Permitting and inspections will cost $30,000.
The National Fire Protection Association was paid $30,000 for consulting. Finally, $3,500 was spent on portable toilets.