As coronavirus cases increase, healthcare officials are asking Americans to avoid crowds and more muffled Independence Day celebrations, but to muffle this not in the spirit of US President Donald Trump, and he sought great success by promising a “special evening” in Washington can bring tens of thousands to the National Mall.
Trump’s celebration of Salute for America on Saturday night was to include a performance on the South Lawn of the White House, which, he said, would celebrate the American heritage, as well as a military flyover over the city and a huge fireworks display that could gather people in the city center .
The president kicked off the holiday weekend by travelling to Mount Rushmore in South Dakota for a fireworks display Friday night near the mountain carvings of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. In his remarks, he accused protesters who have pushed for racial justice of engaging in a “merciless campaign to wipe out our history.”
In a message from the president on Saturday about the 244th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, Trump admitted that “over the past months, the American spirit has undoubtedly been tested by many challenges.”
His Democratic rival, Joe Biden, said in a statement that the U.S. “never lived up” to its founding principle that “all men are created equal,” but that today “we have a chance to rip the roots of systemic racism out of this country.”
His participation in large gatherings is due to the fact that many communities have decided to abandon fireworks, parades and other holiday traditions. The goal is to try to prevent the further spread of coronavirus, which can be stimulated by large crowds. Confirmed cases are growing in 40 states, and the United States set another record on Friday with 52,300 new registered infections, according to estimates saved by Johns Hopkins University.
For the Mount Rushmore event, GOP Governor Kristy Noem, Trump’s ally, insisted that social distancing was not necessary, and masks were optional. Trump spent little time in his speech on Mount Rushmore, reflecting on the pandemic that killed more than 129,000 Americans.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn that mass events like those planned in Washington pose a high risk of spreading the virus.
Trump’s general surgeon, Jerome Adams, who stepped up his call for Americans to wear a mask in public, bypassed when asked during an interview on Friday whether he would warn a loved one from attending such large gatherings. “It’s not a yes or no,” Adams said on today’s NBC show. “Each person must make their own opinion.”
Trump was eager to see the nation returning to normal, and he was ready to go further than many states and mayors of large cities.
Last month, he held his first election rally since early March in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Trump is used to crowds, but the BOK was only one third full for the first presidential rally of the coronavirus era. A few days later, he turned to the metropolis at the “Students for Trump” event in Arizona. Few participants in the event wore masks.
Interior officials said they would hand out 300,000 protective coatings to spectators who assemble at the National Mall. Home Secretary David Bernhardt said visitors would be advised to wear masks and stay six feet apart. There was no indication that this would be necessary, despite the recommendations of health officials.
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser, who said she has no right to close the festive spectacle because it is located on federal land, warned the federal government of the obvious dangers of such a large crowd. On Friday, she called on residents to be smarter about how they spend their vacations. “Just because someone invites you to a party doesn’t mean you have to go,” Bowser wrote.
Other holiday weekend events:
- California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, warned counties that they risked losing state money if they failed to enforce health orders heading into the holiday weekend. He urged residents not to gather with people they don’t live with and to avoid crowds. Fireworks shows in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and elsewhere in the state were cancelled.
- Gov. J.B. Pritzker, D-Ill., said he would not hesitate to close down businesses that don’t abide by capacity requirements, and he encouraged people to avoid large crowds.
- Beach closures in prime locations are a pandemic fallout. Florida’s most populous county, Miami-Dade, closed beaches through the weekend, and South Florida municipalities from Vero Beach to Broward County did the same. Beaches in the Florida Keys were closed, too. In California, beach closures extended from Los Angeles County northward through Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. To the south in Orange County, hugely popular beaches such as Huntington and Newport were affected.
- Even with large public festivities scrapped, sales of consumer fireworks have boomed. Some officials are concerned about fires and injuries with more pyrotechnics going off in backyards and at block parties.
- Four East Coast cities were to get their own mini-displays of air power before the extensive U.S. military air show over Washington, The “Salute to the Great Cities of the American Revolution” involves flyovers in Boston, New York City, Philadelphia and Baltimore.
- About 150 preachers, rabbis and imams intended to frame holiday sermons around “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July” on the 168th anniversary of that speech by Black abolitionist Frederick Douglass. The former slave gave his speech at an Independence Day celebration on July 5, 1852, in Rochester, New York. The address challenged the Founding Fathers and the hypocrisy of their ideals with the existence of slavery on American soil.