Trump pushes racial division, flouts virus rules at Rushmore

Mount Rushmore in South Dakota which was carved into the Black Hills, considered sacred by the Lakota tribe

He says she will be retested to confirm the diagnosis because she isn't showing any symptoms of COVID-19, the disease the virus causes. 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.

One the eve of Independence Day, US President Donald Trump has been labelled "America's No.1 Traitor" in an video advertisement made by political action committee VoteVets.org, as Twitterati merged the president's name with that of notorious Revolutionary War traitor Benedict Arnold, creating the hashtag #BenedictDonald, that quickly went viral.

And despite the week of skyrocketing coronavirus cases in the USA, the President mentioned the virus only in passing at the top of his remarks, thanking those working to fight it.

Native American groups have criticised Mr Trump's visit for posing a possible health risk, and for celebrating USA independence in an area that is sacred to them.

The planned celebrations at Mount Rushmore have irked commentators in the USA, after Trump's political supporters said the event will go on without social distancing.

Public health officials are pleading with Americans to avoid large crowds and hold more muted Independence Day celebrations, as President Donald Trump promised a "special evening" in Washington that could bring tens of thousands to the National Mall.

Infections are up in at least 36 USA states as the country heads into the Independence Day weekend, according to a CNN tally on Friday.

Republican Gov. Kristi Noem, a Trump ally, has said social distancing won't be required during the event and masks will be optional.

"Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children", Trump said when addressing the Fourth of July fireworks celebration at Mount Rushmore.

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They were eventually cleared from the road by police officers and National Guard soldiers, who used smoke bombs and pepper spray, local reports say.

The White House provided excerpts of Trump's remarks before he was to deliver them at Mount Rushmore Friday night.

US President Donald Trump has launched a scathing attack on "cancel culture" - an in-vogue concept that has seen Americans ostracized for voicing views at odds with the mainstream - branding it the hallmark of totalitarianism.

At least 13 protesters were arrested Friday after they blocked the highway that leads to Mount Rushmore for hours with disabled vehicles.

Mount Rushmore was previously called "The Six Grandfathers" by the Lakota Sioux before it was carved with the presidents' faces.

More than 100 protesters, mostly Native Americans, lined the road leading from Keystone, South Dakota, to the monument, holding signs and playing Lakota music in 95-degree heat.

The group protested against the use of fireworks, which have been banned from the area for more than a decade.

Bernhardt said in a statement that Defense Department flyovers would give a "one-of-a-kind air show" and said, "President Trump's 2020 Salute to America will be a patriotic tribute to our men and women in uniform".

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