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 he accused of “slander.”
During the second annual “Salute To America” event held on the South Lawn, the president drew a comparison between historic 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 of 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.”
The president also returned to his call for the creation of the National Garden of American Heroes, for which he signed an executive order on Friday.
He said his administration has already selected “30 legends,” men and women that 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 Department of Interior 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.