Jul 04, 2020
Hundreds of thousands of people converged on a very hot Washington, DC Saturday afternoon, where U.S. President Donald Trump will host a private party in the midst of a pandemic. The Trumps are hosting a "2020 Salute to America" on the South Lawn of the White House. The "Salute" will include a speech that Trump says would celebrate American "heritage." The invitation-only event, will culminate in watching flyovers of military aircraft and a large-scale fireworks show on the National Mall.
Disregarding Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser's warnings of the risk of gathering as many U.S. states are spiking with record numbers of new COVID-19 cases.
Florida reported 11,458 new coronavirus cases Saturday, shattering its record for daily reported cases in the state since the pandemic began. Yesterday the US reported a third straight day with more than 50,000 new coronavirus cases. The US death toll has now risen to 132,223.
In his Mount Rushmore speech Friday night, Trump made little mention of the pandemic, even as COVID-19 moved further into Trump's inner circle. Kimberly Guilfoyle, a senior campaign official and the girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr., tested positive in South Dakota before the event. Thousands in the crowd refused to wear masks or socially distance as they packed closely together in bleacher seating.
On Friday, NBC News reported that the White House is preparing to change its messaging on the coronavirus, to tell Americans it simply has to be lived with.
Trump claimed "a tremendous victory" was at hand. "It's going to happen and it's going to happen big," the president said in a July 4th message to the nation. "Our country will be greater than ever before."
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser had tried to dissuade the Trump administration from holding the July 4th fireworks display over the National Mall and informed the Department of the Interior that it went against health officials' guidance amid the pandemic.
\u201cPresident Trump promises a \u201cspecial evening\u201d in Washington including a speech, a military flyover and an enormous fireworks display. Tens of thousands could come to the National Mall while the coronavirus stifles celebrations elsewhere. https://t.co/aZh5Dom1dP\u201d— The Associated Press (@The Associated Press) 1593882816
\u201cAlways staggering to think that the role of the president\u2014"the most powerful office in the world" etc\u2014is now just to ventriloquize Stephen Miller's unhappy, angry, probably lonely time in college.\u201d— Kanishk Tharoor (@Kanishk Tharoor) 1593865616
\u201cTrump's speech yesterday was dark and symbolized the worst of what he's doing. He didn't use Independence Day to unite people or give a message of hope. The best way to confront this is to defeat him in Nov. https://t.co/1xyO1RSzpI\u201d— Randi Weingarten \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8\ud83d\udcaa\ud83c\udfff\ud83d\udc69\u200d\ud83c\udf93 (@Randi Weingarten \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8\ud83d\udcaa\ud83c\udfff\ud83d\udc69\u200d\ud83c\udf93) 1593892736
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