President Trump went to Mount Rushmore on Friday night to headline an event on July 4 that has sparked controversy over bringing out crowds amid a spike in coronavirus cases.
“We’re going to Mount Rushmore. Mount Rushmore is in great shape and will remain in great shape for centuries to come, “the president told reporters on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews before leaving. “I’ll give a speech there. I see a lot of people, a lot of different people and I think it will be a fantastic evening. ‘
Trump’s allusion to Mount Rushmore’s staying power was a foretaste of the speech he plans to deliver that aims to condemn protesters who want to “tear down” the history of the nation.
President Trump spoke to reporters immediately before boarding Air Force One to go to Mount Rushmore to deliver a speech and watch fireworks
President Trump gives a wave as he embarks on Air Force One to participate in his first of two Fourth of July events
Trump will make comments at Mount Rushmore on Friday, July 3 – where the state says the public will be limited to 7,500 attendees
First lady Melania Trump (right) accompanies President Trump (left) on his Friday night trip to Mount Rushmore, where he will face protesters who want to ‘break down’ the history of the nation
President Trump also told reporters that he thought the US economy was in good shape and that there would be a ‘V-shape’ recovery amid coronavirus cases across the country
As the coronavirus crisis continued to loom, the President has addressed cultural war themes, including the preservation of Southern monuments, which have been attacked in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death and subsequent ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests.
The White House has argued that if military bases and statues are renamed and removed, it will be a slippery slope for figures like George Washington, whose bust is being ‘erased’ on Mount Rushmore. Washington was a slave owner, as was Thomas Jefferson, who is also on the sculpture in South Dakota.
The Associated Press reported Friday that Trump plans to go after the “ left-wing mob and the practitioners of the cancellation culture, ” said one person familiar with his comments.
And he will “condemn totalitarian behavior that American life is completely foreign.”
On the asphalt, the president also praised the economic recovery and said that the economy is ‘doing very well’.
“I think we’re getting a V shape,” he added, meaning the economy will return as soon as it fell.
While in his column before leaving, Trump tweeted a number of Congressional recommendations, including to former White House physician Ronny Jackson, whom he initially endorsed in February, and also Rep. Jeff Van Drew, the New Jersey- Democrat who was a Republican who voted against the impeachment of the President.
Earlier on Friday, the President played golf at his club in Virginia.
Trump has tried to stick to culture war and economy themes instead of talking about the increase in coronavirus cases, which exceeded 50,000 new cases earlier this week.
But public health experts have warned that his successive events on July 4 could only make matters worse.
Dr. Anthony Fauci was asked about Trump’s trip to South Dakota on Wednesday, and although he didn’t criticize it directly, he suggested it wasn’t smart to go.
“You should avoid meeting as much as possible in a crowd where people can’t keep a physical distance,” said Fauci.
“Avoid crowds, wear a mask, keep your physical distance,” the doctor continued during an Instagram Q&A with former CNN White House correspondent Jessica Yellin. “It does not matter what the reason for the municipality is, whether it is a party here, the demonstration there. It doesn’t matter – wear a mask. ‘
Likewise, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser said she warned the Home Office about holding the event on Saturday, July 4 in Washington, DC
The President and First Lady present a ‘Salute to America’ from the South Lawn and Ellipse from the White House. There will be military viaducts and later the annual fireworks.
Bowser said the event was in violation of CDC guidelines and could cause a spike in COVID-19.
Earlier on Friday, President Trump visited his golf course in Sterling, Virginia for a game of golf. Here he was captured while returning to the White House
President Trump will return to the White House on Friday after a trip to his Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia
President Donald Trump kicks off the weekend of July 4 with a fireworks show at Mount Rushmore. Pictured: Fireworks over Mount Rushmore National Memorial, July 2004
Activists hold signs during a protest at Mount Rushmore National Monument in Keystone, South Dakota on July 3
About $ 600,000 is spent on the display, including $ 350,000 for the actual fireworks and $ 3,500 in portable toilets. Pictured: Mike Harris, a retired over-the-road truck driver and registered Republican, shares his views on President Trump with motorists heading to Mount Rushmore National Monument, July 2
Supporters of US President Donald Trump wave flags on a road in Keystone, South Dakota on July 3
Health experts say that the event may spike in cases and endanger not only participants, but employees as well. Pictured: Visitors look at Mount Rushmore National Monument, July 2
The fireworks at Friday night’s event in South Dakota are also problematic as it can cause a fire.
Trump previously blew away this warning by saying, “What can burn? It is stone. ‘
But a former park official said the event would “endanger public safety,” and it would be “extremely difficult” to evacuate the crowd in an emergency.
The audience will be limited to 7,500 visitors.
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem also said there would be no social distance during the event, but they would hand out masks for free.
The cost of the event has also raised eyebrows.
TMZ has obtained documents showing the Friday night fireworks show, costing just under $ 600,000.
The screen itself cost $ 350,000 paid to a company called Pyro Spectaculars.
An environmental consultancy firm called Ero Resources Corporation received $ 138,800 to work on the event. Security and screening cost $ 33,000. Permit and inspections cost $ 30,000.
The National Fire Protection Association received $ 30,000 for advice. Finally, $ 3,500 was spent on portable toilets.