“Campaign to wipe our history”

Independence Day in the US this year is under the influence of the Corona pandemic and anti-racism protests. President Trump is pulling out of a quirky program.

Photo series with 16 photos

US President Donald Trump used his first Independence Day speech this year to raise sentiment against participants in the nationwide anti-racism protest movement. A “merciless campaign to eradicate our history” is underway, Trump said Friday night at the national monument on Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, in front of thousands of spectators. “Angry mobs” tried to take down statues of the founding fathers of the United States. But the “strong and proud” American people will not allow history and culture to be taken away from them.

New record numbers overshadow Trump looks

The attack on “great freedom must be stopped and will be stopped very quickly,” Trump said. Under the “flag of social justice”, attempts are made to destroy both justice and society. The US should be turned into a place of “oppression, domination and exclusion.” “They want to silence us, but we’re not going to let them silence us,” Trump said.

Protests against racism and police brutality have erupted across the country following the death of African-American George Floyd during a brutal police operation in Minneapolis on May 25. They also sparked a debate about the country’s commemorative culture. In several cities, protests had toppled statues depicting historical figures associated with racism. Trump has repeatedly strongly condemned the “mutilation” and falls of statues and monuments.

Shortly before the arrival of Trump and his wife Melania at Mount Rushmore, Johns Hopkins University reported a new high in daily corona infections: 57,683 new corona infections were recorded within 24 hours. This has already shown a total of 2.79 million infections in the United States. The number of Corona deaths increased by 728 to 129,405 cases.

Call: “We love you, President Trump”

That’s not the only reason Trump’s plans to attend the celebrations in South Dakota have been criticized. Since 2009, no fireworks have been set off on Mount Rushmore due to the risk of wildfires and concerns that pollutants could end up in groundwater. The Black Hills are sacred to the natives. Members of the Sioux had expressed themselves against the celebration, saying the government had not coordinated their plans for the celebrations with them, they complained. Before the event began, there were protests in which an access road was blocked, US media reported.

“We will not keep a social distance,” the governor said. (Source: Tom Brenner/Reuters)

Governor: “Don’t keep a social distance”

Governor Kristi Noem had encouraged people to come. “We’ve told people who are worried that they can stay home,” the Republican said, referring to the Corona pandemic. “We will not keep a social distance,” Noem added. People should come to celebrate, to “enjoy the freedoms we have in this country.” Face masks had to be issued, but they were not mandatory.

Four months before the U.S. election, Trump is now taking the opportunity to present himself at the foot of the mountain rock formation with the more-than-life heads of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. The Republican is under pressure. Polls show US Democratic candidate Joe Biden well ahead of incumbent Trump in the race for president. However, caution is needed in the polls, as the 2016 election showed.

Protests in the context of Independence Day

The anti-racism protests will also be part of this year’s Independence Day, with several demonstrations planned for Saturday in the capital, Washington. After Trump’s Independence Day speech, celebrations were held on the National Mall, a boardwalk between the house building and the Lincoln Memorial. Mayor Muriel Bowser had complained that the celebrations in the middle of the Corona pandemic were in violation of health experts’ guidelines.

There was also criticism of Trump’s handling of “Independence Day” last year. He used the day for a military power demonstration and gave his speech at the National Mall. He was accused of politicizing the celebrations.

Reopening of 20 states delayed

Nearly 2.8 million sars-CoV-2 infections have been detected in the United States since the onset of the Corona pandemic, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Nearly 130,000 people died from or with the virus. According to U.S. media, at least 20 states have slowed, interrupted, or even scaled back the phased reopening of the economy due to rapidly rising infection rates.

Trump has repeatedly justified the increase in the number of cases by expanding the tests. He also states that the death rate is falling. The government’s top health official, Vice Admiral Jerome Adams, warned against hasty conclusions on Friday. It is known that the deaths “lag” the infection numbers for at least two weeks, Adams said.

Looking at the large number of young people currently undergoing a positive test, he made it clear that there was no reason to be alarmed. “What we’re worried about, especially among young people, is that they get it and then infect their grandmother, their grandfather.” Deputy Health Minister Brett Giroir said on Thursday that the proportion of positive tests was rising. “So this is a real increase in cases,” he said.

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