Speaking to a largely maskless crowd at Mt Rushmore, President Donald Trump said on Saturday that protesters had waged “a merciless campaign to wipe out our history” amid demonstrations against racial injustice and police brutality.
The sharp rebuke in a holiday address on Friday (local time) to mark the nation’s independence follows weeks of protests across the nation, sparked by the Memorial Day killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis.
Some demonstrators have also destroyed or damaged Confederate monuments and statues honouring those who have benefited from slavery.
“This movement is openly attacking the legacies of every person on Mt Rushmore,” Mr Trump said, adding that some on the political left hope to “defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children”.
The president made his speech before a big fireworks show, the first to be held at the site in more than a decade.
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