Washington, 5 July 2020 (dpa/MIA) – US President Donald Trump used an Independence Day event at the White House on Saturday to continue firing off divisive rhetoric, spanning the media, US history and the “radical left.”
Trump‘s speech mirrored his comments during a July 4 event on Friday in which the president flouted the unifying message that is expected of public officials during the national holiday.
Trump drew a parallel between the US defeat of the Nazis to the current “process of defeating the radical left.”
He said the media falsely “label their opponents as racists” including patriotic Americans providing a “clear and faithful defence of American history.”
The president then defended a version of American history that glorifies a history of European expansion and colonialism that devastated the North America’s indigenous population.
Trump said he will fight to protect the American “way of life” that started when Italian explorer Christopher Columbus “discovered” America.
“Together we will fight for the American dream and we will defend, to protect and preserve American way of life, which began in 1492 when Columbus discovered America,” he said.
Many historians reject the notion that Columbus “discovered” the Americas since indigenous people already lived there.
“We will never allow an angry mob to tear down our statues, erase our history, indoctrinate our children or trample on our freedoms,” Trump added, referencing attempts to topple statues with racist pasts.
The Independence Day event dubbed the “Salute to America” in Washington featured military flyovers and will see a massive fireworks show later on Saturday.
The large event comes as public officials are calling on Americans to avoid public gatherings during the holiday.
States across the country are clamping down on their Independence Day events as the US on Wednesday recorded nearly 55,000 new infections, smashing the single-day record.
Trump claimed without evidence during his speech that 99 per cent of coronavirus cases are “totally harmless” and said his strategy for fighting the virus is “moving along well.”
The US by far leads the world in confirmed coronavirus cases with over 2.8 million and deaths at over 129,000.
Washington Mayor Murial Bowser on Friday called on residents to stay home.
“Your family, your friends, and your city are counting on you,” she said in a tweet. “If you must go out, keep us healthy by practising good hygiene; wearing a mask; staying 6 feet apart; and avoiding large crowds.”