President Donald Trump marked the national holiday on Saturday with a speech accented by a campaign rally in a divided America, against the backdrop of a revival of Covid-19 and demonstrations against racism. The July 4 festivities, traditionally marked by parades, marching bands, barbecues and large fireworks in a friendly atmosphere have been revised down this year across the United States due to the pandemic.
“We are defeating the radical left, the Marxists, the anarchists, the agitators and the plunderers,” said Donald Trump during a ceremony in the gardens of the White House. Far from a traditionally unifying tone of presidential speeches of the “4th of July”, the republican billionaire also attacked the media “who wrongly accuse their opponents of being racist”. “The more you lie, the more you slander (…) the more we will work to tell the truth, and we will win,” he said, four months before the presidential election.
The White House tenant also attacked China virulently, from where the new coronavirus started, reaffirming that it should “be accountable”. True to the message he has been hammering for several days, Donald Trump has once again downplayed the significance of the spectacular increase in the number of Covid-19 cases which alarmed the health authorities. “We have made a lot of progress. Our strategy is working well, “he said, hammering away his belief that treatment and / or a vaccine would probably be available” well before the end of the year “.
However, a few hours earlier, Florida had announced a new Covid-19 case record at 11,458 in the past 24 hours. In Atlanta, Nashville, concerts or fireworks have been canceled. In the Texan city of Houston, home of the epidemic in the great state of the South, July 4 is celebrated online. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the National Mall, the huge esplanade where official museums and monuments stand and its surroundings have remained open and accessible to the public for a fireworks display announced as “monumental”.
The Independence Day celebrations, when in 1776 thirteen British colonies proclaimed their separation from the British crown and founded the United States of America, are likely to have a bitter taste this year. America has been animated since the death of African-American George Floyd by a historic movement against racism, comparable to that of civil rights in the 1960s. All over the country, rallies are planned for justice, the equality and against the Trump government. In Washington, around twenty collectives called to demonstrate, notably in front of the monument in memory of Abraham Lincoln, from which Martin Luther King had given his speech “I have a dream”, in 1963.