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Trump uses July 4 speech to defend "American heroes," attack China and the media

Trump's July 4 speech
Trump's July 4 speech 05:05

President Trump on Saturday used his Fourth of July "Salute to America" event to defend those he considers "American heroes," repeating his announcement the night before about creating a "National Garden of American Heroes," and emphasizing shared heritage. Mr. Trump also spent a portion of his speech blaming China for the coronavirus pandemic and accused the media of "falsely" labeling their opponents racist and condemning "patriotic citizens." 

Mr. Trump tried to highlight a shared "great" heritage of Americans, insisting "no matter our race, color or creed, we are one America —  and we put America first."  He also emphasized the importance of "American heroes" and their legacy. 

Mr. Trump listed a number of American historical figures, including some of the Founding Fathers, abolitionists, the Wright Brothers and Ronald Reagan, and said they would be part of the "National Garden of American Heroes." He said the administration would also be taking suggestions about other people who should be included. 

Despite what appeared to be calls for unity, Mr. Trump also said the country is defeating the "radical left," and he emphasized "protecting and defending" the American way of life. 

US President Donald Trump speaks during the 2020 "Salute to America" event in honor of Independence Day on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, July 4, 2020.  SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

"We will never allow an angry mob to tear down our statues, erase our history, indoctrinate our children or trample on our freedoms," Mr. Trump said. 

As the country has debated what to do about monuments that celebrate Confederate generals and slaveowners, Mr. Trump emphasized his administration will protect those monuments. Mr. Trump went after what he referred to as "those who are lying about our history and those who want us to be ashamed of who we are." 

One day after giving a speech that was criticized for being divisive, Mr. Trump went on to blame the media for  "slander" of him, the American people and "generations of heroes who gave their lives for America" when they "falsely and consistently label their opponents as racist and condemn patriotic citizens."

"The more you lie and demean and collude, the more credibility you lose," Mr. Trump said. "We want to bring the country together and a free and open media will make this task a very easy one." 

As cases of the coronavius continue to spike in some parts of the country, Mr. Trump used part of the speech to blame China for not controlling the virus. "China must be held fully accountable," he said. He again tried to tie the number of coronavirus cases to increased testing, although in many areas, the positivity rate has increased along with the testing. 

Mr. Trump's remarks on Saturday followed a speech on Friday night at Mount Rushmore where he highlighted many of the same themes of the "angry mobs" who want to "unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities." 

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