At Mount Rushmore, President Donald Trump delivered a stunning Fourth of July rebuke to the iconoclast mobs and rampant cancel culture ravaging American life. He championed America’s spirit, its history, and its magnificent Declaration of Independence in a celebratory speech that could not be more different from The New York Times‘ “1619 Project” and the rioters toppling statues of America’s founders. He gave a full-throated defense of America’s heritage just when Americans need to hear it most.
“Make no mistake, this left-wing cultural revolution is designed to overthrow the American Revolution,” Trump warned. “In so doing, they would destroy the very civilization that rescued billions from poverty, disease, violence, and hunger, and that lifted humanity to new heights of achievement, discovery, and progress.”
Trump rightly noted not just the threat of rioters aimed at destroying America’s heritage but the nation’s tremendous achievements and its heroes. He not only defended the majesty of Mount Rushmore from a statue-toppling mob but also delivered a full-throated defense of each of the heroes carved in the face of Mount Rushmore, at a time when mobs and newspapers like The New York Times are targeting the legacy of those heroes.
“There could be no greater place to celebrate America’s independence than this incredible majestic mountain monument to the greatest Americans that have ever lived,” Trump declared. “Today we pay tribute to the exceptional lives and extraordinary legacies of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt. I am here as your president to proclaim before the country and before the world this monument will never be desecrated, these heroes will never be defaced, their legacy will never ever be destroyed, their achievements will never be forgotten, and Mount Rushmore will stand forever as an eternal tribute to our forefathers and to our freedom!”
The crowd met that bold declaration with proud chants of “USA! USA!”
President Trump never rebuked the “1619 Project” by name, but his speech rightly centered on the Declaration of Independence, heralding July 4, 1776, as “the most important day in the history of nations.” While the 1619 Project aims to redefine American history, centering its founding on the introduction of race-based slavery in Virginia, Trump rightly focused on America’s true founding.
“Our Founders launched not only a revolution in government, but a revolution in the pursuit of justice, equality, and prosperity. No nation has done more to advance the human condition than the United States of America, and no people have done more to promote human progress than the citizens of our great nation,” the president boldly declared.
When the patriots signed the Declaration of Independence, “they enshrined a divine truth that changed the world forever when they said that all men are created equal. These immortal words set in motion the unstoppable march of freedom.”
That glorious year of 1776 — not 1619 — “represented the culmination of thousands of years of Western Civilization and the triumph of not only spirit but of wisdom, philosophy, and reason. And yet as we meet here tonight, there is a growing danger that threatens every blessing our ancestors fought so hard for.”
“Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children,” Trump warned. “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.”
The president declared that the American people are not “weak and soft and submissive” but “strong and proud.” Americans “will not allow our country, and all of its values, history, and culture, to be taken from them.”
Trump condemned the rising left-wing orthodoxy as a new form of “totalitarian… fascism.”
“One of their political weapons is cancel culture, driving people from their jobs, shaming dissenters, and demanding total submission from anyone who disagrees. This is the very definition of totalitarianism, and it is completely alien to our culture and our values and it has absolutely no place in the United States of America,” the president warned. “This attack on our liberty, our magnificent liberty, must be stopped, and it will be stopped.”
“We will expose this dangerous movement, protect our nation’s children, end this radical assault, and preserve our beautiful American way of life,” Trump said, subtly comparing the cancel culture movement to the Chinese Cultural Revolution.
“A new far-left fascism that demands absolute allegiance if you do not speak its language, perform its rituals, recite its mantras, and follow its commandments, then you will be censored, banished, blacklisted, persecuted, and punished,” he explained. “Make no mistake, this left-wing cultural revolution is designed to overthrow the American Revolution.”
“To make this possible, they are determined to tear down every statue, symbol, and memory of our national heritage. That is why I am deploying federal law enforcement to protect our monuments, arrest the rioters, and prosecute offenders to the fullest extent of the law,” he declared, leaind the crowd to break out in chants of “Four more years!”
Trump mentioned his executive order directing his administration to apply federal laws protecting monuments. “And obviously, that includes our beautiful Mount Rushmore.”
The president warned that the rioting, complete with the toppling of statues, “is the predictable result of years of extreme indoctrination and bias in education, journalism, and other cultural institutions. Against every law of society and nature, our children are taught in school to hate our own country and to believe that the men and women who built it were not heroes but were villains.”
He denounced this anti-Americanism as “a web of lies” in which “all perspective is removed, every virtue is obscured, every motive is twisted, every fact is distorted, and every fact is magnified until the history is purged and the record is disfigured beyond all recognition.” His speech set the record straight, praising the men on Mount Rushmore.
“No movement that seeks to dismantle these treasured American legacies can possibly have a love of America at its heart,” the president declared. “No person who remains quiet at the destruction of this resplendent heritage can possibly lead us to a greater future,” he added, with a subtle dig at presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
Trump warned that the anti-American movement marches under “the banner of social justice, but in truth, it would demolish both justice and society. … In toppling the heroes of 1776, they seek to dissolve the bonds of love and loyalty that we feel for our country and that we feel for each other. Their goal is not to better America, their goal is to end America.”
“We will state the truth in full without apology. We declare that the united states of America is the most just and exceptional nation ever to exist on earth,” he declared. “We are proud of the fact that our country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. We know that the American family is the bedrock of American life.”
“We believe in equal opportunity, equal justice, and equal treatment for citizens of every race, background, religion, and creed. Every child of every color, born and unborn, is made in the holy image of God,” Trump added. “We want free and open debate, not speech codes and cancel culture. … We support the courageous men and women of law enforcement. We will never abolish our police or our great Second Amendment, which gives us the right to keep and bear arms.”
“We believe that our children should be taught to love their country, honor our history, and respect our great American flag,” he added. “For the sake of our honor, for the sake of our children, for the sake of our union, we must protect our history, hour heritage, and our great heroes.”
Trump cited Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., who praised the American fFounding as a “promissory note,” promising justice but as of yet unfulfilled. King believed that “the mission of justice required us to embrace our founding ideals,” not reject them.
The president concluded his powerful speech with a paean to the great Americans who came before, including freed slave Frederick Douglass, the Tuskeegee Airmen, Harriet Tubman, Ella Fitzgerald, and many more. He announced the creation of a new monument, “a vast outdoor park that will feature the statues of the greatest Americans to ever live.”
At a time of divisive riots, vandalism, and the toppling of great monuments to American heroes, Trump delivered a passioned defense of the Declaration of Independence, the heroes on Mount Rushmore, and the virtues of America. This speech met the moment.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.