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Trump repeats vow to defeat 'radical left' in July Fourth speech

Updated: 2020-07-05 14:04

US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump watch the Washington, D.C. fireworks display from the Truman Balcony as they celebrate the US Independence Day holiday at the White House in Washington, US, July 4, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

US President Donald Trump on Saturday vowed to defeat the "radical left" in an Independence Day speech at the White House, condemning recent efforts to remove or rethink monuments to historical figures as attempts to destroy the United States.

Trump claimed without evidence that 99 percent of COVID-19 cases in the United States were "totally harmless." In fact, many US states marked a record number of new cases. In Texas alone, 7,890 patients were hospitalized after 238 new confirmed cases over the past 24 hours.

Peaceful protesters called for racial equality just steps from where Trump spoke in Washington, DC, marching down blocked-off streets around the White House, Black Lives Matter Plaza and the Lincoln Memorial.

Millions of Americans have been demonstrating against police brutality and racial inequality since the May killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. In addition to achieving police reforms in some cities, some protesters have removed Confederate statues and other symbols of America's history of slavery.

"There have always been those who seek to lie about the past in order to gain power in the present, those that are lying about our history, those who want us to be ashamed of who we are," Trump said on Saturday. "Their goal is demolition."

US President Donald Trump thrusts his fist as he arrives on the White House South Lawn to host a 4th of July "2020 Salute to America" to celebrate the US Independence Day holiday at the White House in Washington, US, July 4, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

Trump's Fourth of July remarks doubled down on a Friday night speech at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota where he accused "angry mobs" of trying to erase history and used the speech to paint himself as a bulwark against left-wing extremism.

Joe Biden, Trump's Democratic rival in the November presidential election, wrote a July 4 op-ed piece that struck a contrasting note with the Republican president and accused him of finding every day "new ways to tarnish and dismantle our democracy."

In a separate letter to donors, Biden said: "We have a chance now to give the marginalized, the demonized, the isolated, the oppressed, a full share of the American dream.”

Trump, in his Saturday speech, also said the United States would have a vaccine or therapeutic solution to the virus "long before" the end of 2020.

On Thursday, a top US health official said he was optimistic the Trump administration's vaccine-acceleration program "Operation Warp Speed" will generate a safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19 by the year-end.

Saturday's speech at the White House was capped off by fighter jet air shows and a fireworks display over the National Mall. Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser had tried to dissuade the Trump administration from holding the event because it went against health officials' guidance during the pandemic.


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