Donald Trump lashes out at ‘cancel culture’ and accuses statue critics of ‘merciless campaign to wipe history’
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Donald Trump denounced so-called “cancel culture” during an impassioned speech at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, branding it “the very definition of totalitarianism”.
The US President launched a blistering attack on his critics amid fierce race rows in the US and globally following the Black Lives Matter protests.
Taking aim at calls for statues and monuments to be taken down for links to slavery, Mr Trump accused anti-racism protesters of engaging in a “merciless campaign to wipe out our history”.
“This movement is openly attacking the legacies of every person on Mount Rushmore,” he told crowds in South Dakota.
“We will not be terrorised, we will not be demeaned, and we will not be intimidated by bad, evil people. It will not happen.”
Donald Trump attacked his critics in the impassioned speech (AP)
Instead of tearing down statues, Mr Trump announced he was signing an executive order to establish the National Garden of American Heroes, a vast outdoor park that will erect new statues of the “greatest Americans to ever live”.
The speech and firework display at Mount Rushmore came against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic that has killed over 125,000 Americans and seen a recent resurgence of infections.
Many criticised the president for pressing ahead with the event without compulsory masks or social distancing. The thousands in the audience flouted public health guidelines that recommend not gathering in large groups.
“Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our founders, deface our most sacred memorials and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities,’ Mr Trump said during the speech.
Thousands gathered to watch the US president make a speech at Mount Rushmore National Memorial (AP)
“Many of these people have no idea why they’re doing this, but some know exactly what they’re doing,’ he added.
“They think the American people are weak and soft and submissive.
“But no, the American people are strong and proud and they will not allow our country and all of its values, history and culture to be taken from them,” he said, raising his voice.
It came as the Trump campaign confirmed during the president’s speech that Kimberly Guilfoyle, a top fundraiser for the campaign and the girlfriend of Mr Trump’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr, had tested positive for the coronavirus while in South Dakota.
Both Ms Guilfoyle and Mr Trump Jr, who serves as top adviser to the president, are self-isolating and have cancelled public events, according to Sergio Gor, chief of staff to the Trump campaign’s finance committee.