In a Fourth of July speech aimed at commemorating the military on Saturday, President Trump hit on familiar divisive themes, condemning the “radical left” and the media, which he accused of “slander.”
During the second annual Salute to America event held on the South Lawn of the White House, the president drew a comparison between historical American wartime victories and stopping the “radical left.”
“American heroes defeated the Nazis, dethroned the fascists, toppled the communists, saved American values, upheld American principles and chased down the terrorists to the very ends of the Earth,” the president told attendees. “We are now in the process of defeating the radical left, the Marxists, the anarchists, the agitators, the looters and people who in many instances have absolutely no clue what they are doing.”
Trump also went after protesters who’ve rallied to take down statues and monuments that honor Confederate leaders and others known to have supported or profited off slavery and racism.
“We will never allow an angry mob to tear down our statues, erase our history, indoctrinate our children or trample on our freedoms,” he said.
Trump said media outlets “slander” him and “falsely and consistently label their opponents as racists.”
He said his administration has already selected some 30 “legends,” men and women who include: John Adams, Susan B. Anthony, Clara Barton, Daniel Boone, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, Henry Clay, Davy Crockett, Frederick Douglass, Amelia Earhart, Benjamin Franklin, Billy Graham, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Douglas MacArthur, Dolley Madison, James Madison, Christa McAuliffe, Audie Murphy, George S. Patton, Ronald Reagan, Jackie Robinson, Betsy Ross, Antonin Scalia, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harriet Tubman, Booker T. Washington, George Washington, and Orville and Wilbur Wright.
The celebration comes as the U.S. sees a surge in coronavirus infections. Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser advised the public to follow CDC-recommended hygiene measures to prevent the spread of the virus, including wearing face coverings and avoiding large gatherings.
While the Interior Department said that more than 300,000 cloth masks would be available for visitors attending the National Mall festivities, Trump faced a largely maskless crowd on the South Lawn.