President Donald Trump on Monday said his GOP acceptance speech will be held at either the White House or Gettysburg.
Either location would be controversial, given both are historic, public sites and Trump's speech will be inherently partisan.
Trump has also spent much of the summer pushing against the movement to remove Confederate monuments, and the Confederacy suffered a miserable defeat at Gettysburg.
President Donald Trump on Monday said his Republican presidential nomination speech will take place at the White House or the Gettysburg battlefield in Pennsylvania.
"We have narrowed the Presidential Nomination Acceptance Speech, to be delivered on the final night of the Convention (Thursday), to two locations - The Great Battlefield of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and the White House, Washington, D.C. We will announce the decision soon!" Trump said in a tweet.
The Republican National Convention, including Trump's acceptance speech, was originally set to be held in full in Charlotte, North Carolina. But after butting heads with local leaders over coronavirus restrictions, Trump sought to move the speech portion of the RNC to Jacksonville, Florida. Plans for Jacksonville were ultimately scrapped as coronavirus spread across Florida at an alarming rate and it emerged as the new epicenter of the crisis.
The GOP convention is scheduled to occur at the end of the month.
Trump in recent days has floated holding the speech at the White House, which would mark an unprecedented use of an iconic, public property for an inherently partisan event.
Gettysburg, the site of a national military park run by the National Park Service, would also be a controversial choice for similar reasons.
The Battle of Gettysburg was a turning point in the Civil War and widely considered by historians to be among the most important military engagements of the conflict. The battlefield is hallowed ground. It's estimated there were as many as 51,000 casualties in the three-day battle, making it the bloodiest engagement of the war.
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Trump has spent a significant amount of time in recent weeks pushing against the movement to remove Confederate monuments and rename US military bases named after Confederate figures. In this context, it would be especially controversial for Trump to deliver a fundamentally political speech at perhaps the most well-known Civil War battlefield, where the Confederates suffered a devastating defeat that turned the tide of the bloodiest conflict in US history.
Gettysburg is also where President Abraham Lincoln delivered what is recognized as one of the most important speeches in US history — the Gettysburg Address. In his speech, Lincoln spoke of unity and expressed hope that America could live up to its founding ideals.
During a campaign rally in Gettysburg back in October 2016, Trump delivered divisive remarks to supporters in which he listed out numerous grievances, made unfounded claims that the political system was "rigged" against him, and suggested the results of the impending election (which Trump ultimately won) could not be trusted. Fast-forward to 2020, Trump is following a similar playbook and has repeatedly made unsubstantiated claims that mail-in voting will lead to widespread fraud, in what represents a blatant effort to undermine the legitimacy of the 2020 election.
The president is trailing former Vice President Joe Biden in the polls, and his approval rating has plummeted amid the Trump administration's disastrous handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
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