President plans to decry ‘leftwing mob’ in event raising concerns over wildfire risk, respect for tribal land and Covid-19 dangers
Donald Trump is heading to Mount Rushmore in South Dakota on Friday night for an early Fourth of July fireworks celebration that has caused division over its every aspect, from respect for tribal land to wildfire dangers, coronavirus risk and the optics of such a trip when some hospitals are in crisis mode.
The president plans a fiery speech at the mountain monument where four presidents’ faces are carved into the hillside, billed to include denunciations of protesters attacking Confederate statues who he will say are trying to “tear down” the nation’s history.
The trip, with Melania Trump, comes the day after the US broke the world record for new daily confirmed Covid-19 cases, with more than 55,000 new infections on Thursday.
On Friday morning, amid reports of hospitals in some southern and western states close to being overwhelmed with new coronavirus patients and doctors and nurses forced to prioritize who gets a ventilator, the president was playing golf in Virginia before traveling to Mount Rushmore.
In his speech to a crowd of about 7,500 late on Friday night, Trump is expected to target “the leftwing mob and those practicing ‘cancel’ culture”, said a person familiar with his remarks, referring to a type of online shaming and ostracism, usually of celebrities, for unpopular comments or actions.
The state Republican party plans to sell T-shirts with an image featuring Trump’s face on the memorial alongside George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.