On the eve of the Fourth, President Trump gave a speech in South Dakota, at the foot of Mount Rushmore, and it wasn't a staid one. Fox News called it "fiery," the Guardian went with a similar take of "incendiary," while the New York Times deemed it a "divisive culture war message" and the AP noted the address (full transcript here) "[pushed] racial division." Trump turned much of his focus on recent protests for racial justice and the vandalism and removal of statues across the US, lamenting "cancel culture" and decrying what he called a "merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children." He also called for his supporters to rise up against what he referred to as a "new far-left fascism." The Times notes he barely referenced the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. More coverage:
- Protesters were pepper-sprayed, and more than a dozen were arrested, before Trump's speech after using vans as roadblocks to Mount Rushmore, USA Today reports. Demonstrators that included Lakota Sioux noted that the Black Hills of South Dakota are sacred grounds to Native Americans, and that the Trump administration hasn't been working in their best interest. "We shut down Mount Rushmore," one Lakota activist said. "We put this place in lockdown for three hours and we did it in a good way."