The United States is “witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, indoctrinate our children,” President Donald Trump said in a speech delivered on Friday evening at Mt. Rushmore, a rock massif that features likenesses of four US presidents.
The faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln were carved into the mountain in the 1920s, with each of the heads nearly 18.3 meters (60 feet) high.
“This monument will never be desecrated, these heroes will never be defaced … their achievements will never be forgotten and Mt. Rushmore will stand forever,” Trump said, referencing the recent toppling or destroying statues associated with colonialism and racial discrimination.
President Trump delivers rousing Independence Day speech at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.
“This attack on our liberty must be stopped, and it will be stopped,” the president added.
“In our schools, our newsrooms and even our boardrooms, there is a new far-left fascism,” he said. “That is why I am deploying federal law enforcement to protect our monuments, arrest the rioters, and prosecute the offenders to the full extent of the law.”
“We will never abolish the police,” he said, in another reference to an idea that came in response to recent instances of police brutality.
Trump also said the US will build a new memorial park, featuring statues of “the greatest Americans who ever lived.”