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U.S. President Donald Trump laid into what he called 'angry mobs' that tried to tear down statues of Confederate leaders and other historical figures.
At an early Independence Day event at Mount Rushmore late Friday (July 3) he painted those protesting racial inequality in the U.S. as groups trying to erase the nation's history, what he called a movement of 'new left fascism.'
"Make no mistake, this left wing cultural revolution is designed to overthrow the American revolution," Trump said. "Our children are taught in school to hate their own country."
In nationwide unrest after the death of George Floyd - a Black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis protesters in several cities have vandalized the statues and monuments linked to the Confederacy and colonialism.
Trump has stood against renaming U.S. military bases that are named after Confederate generals and vowed harsh punishment for people who damage statues.
The lead-up to the event was also marked by its defiance of public health warnings over the coronavirus, urging Americans to avoid large gatherings.
Thousands of people packed close together in Friday's crowd - and few wore masks.
That as seven states posted record numbers of new COVID-19 cases on Friday (July 4).
News broke Friday that the virus has reached Trump's inner circle.
A Trump campaign official says Kimberly Guilfoyle - a top campaign official and Donald Trump Jr.'s girlfriend, tested positive before attending Friday's event.
The official said Trump Jr. himself has tested negative.
Friday's event ended with a fireworks display,something Mount Rushmore hasn't hosted in over a decade over environmental concerns.
Before Trump's speech, Native American protesters were arrested after trying block a road to the landmark.
They have criticized the event for increasing the risk of viral spread and for celebrating U.S. independence in an area that was sacred to them.