Donald Trump’s speech in front of Mount Rushmore, in which he said American is under threat from “far-left fascism”, has elicited strong response in the media.
The Washington Post’s Robin Givhan said the president “peddled his fiction” on Friday night as he appealed to his base. “The setting for President Trump’s early Fourth of July celebration was magnificent, as the Black Hills of South Dakota tend to be,” wrote Givhan. “The scene was also full of painful history, willful ignorance and deliberate fearmongering.”
Givhan also noted that few of those in attendance wore masks as Covid-19 cases rise across the US. “And just to add to the upside-down, inside-out madness of the mass gathering, Ivanka Trump, presidential adviser and daughter, tweeted a reminder to be safe over the holiday weekend by social distancing and wearing a mask. Her nearest and dearest did not listen to plea,” she wrote.
The New York Times said the rally came as Trump is floundering in the polls. “With the coronavirus pandemic raging and his campaign faltering in the polls, his appearance amounted to a fiery reboot of his re-election effort, using the holiday and an official presidential address to mount a full-on culture war against a straw-man version of the left that he portrayed as inciting mayhem and moving the country toward totalitarianism,” wrote Annie Karni.
The Associated Press noted the speech appeared made to stoke divisions: “At the foot of Mount Rushmore and on the eve of Independence Day, President Donald Trump dug deeper into America’s divisions by accusing protesters who have pushed for racial justice of engaging in a ‘merciless campaign to wipe out our history.”
The New York Daily News described the speech as “Mt Rushmore Madness” along with a cover depicting the president’s on the monument with their eyebrows raised.
There was praise elsewhere for Trump. Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review said it was “A superb speech, tough but appropriately so, gave our forefathers their due, invoked the wonders of American culture, and accurately stated the stakes of the culture war – Trump’s best since Warsaw.” Sean Davis, co-founder of the Federalist, said: “Trump’s Independence Day defense of America was far and away the greatest speech of his presidency.”