Trump to criticize ‘cancel culture’ during Mount Rushmore trip
MOUNT RUSHMORE, S.D. (Reuters) – President Donald Trump was expected to rail against a “left wing mob” for seeking to “tear down” US history at a celebration with thousands of supporters at Mount Rushmore on Friday, shrugging off concerns about social distancing during a pandemic. Native American protesters were arrested after blocking a road to the South Dakota landmark, according to video livestreamed on social media. They have criticized Trump’s visit for increasing the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus and for celebrating US independence in an area that is sacred to them. Trump will view a fireworks display as part of July 4 celebrations at the monument, which depicts the images of US presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. A Trump campaign official said the president, who has criticized protesters for tearing down statues during demonstrations against racial inequality, would criticize people who are trying to “tear down” the United States. “The left wing mob and those practicing cancel culture are engaging in totalitarian behavior that is completely alien to American life – and we must not accept it,” the official said, paraphrasing Trump’s expected remarks. Trump sounded an optimistic note as he left Washington. “A lot of good things are happening, a lot of very powerful things are happening, and our country is doing very well,” Trump told reporters. The president has come under criticism for his reaction to nationwide protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis. Trump has emphasized a “law and order” response to the demonstrations. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) tweeted at one point that Trump had disrespected Native Americans and that his South Dakota trip was “glorifying white supremacy.” It later deleted the tweet. Both Washington and Jefferson, revered for their roles in the founding of the nation, were slave owners. Mount Rushmore has not had fireworks since 2009 because of environmental concerns. Trump advocated for a resumption of the display, and the state says the surrounding Black Hills National Forest has “gained strength” since then and that fireworks technology has advanced.