- Americans shied away from typical Fourth of July festivities on Saturday amid rising coronavirus concerns, but the White House threw a large event celebrating Independence Day.
- The “Salute to America” gathering featured a speech from President Donald Trump and a military flyover, and fireworks were scheduled for later in the evening.
- Photos from Washington, DC, show how the event on Saturday unfolded.
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While much of the country eschewed typical Fourth of July celebrations amid coronavirus fears, President Donald Trump threw a large “Salute to America” gathering at the White House on Saturday that included a speech and a military flyover.
The festivities came as COVID-19 cases across the country soared, particularly in new hotspots like Texas, Florida, and Arizona. Nearly 130,000 have died of the disease so far.
Many of the attendees who took to the White House’s South Lawn on Saturday did not wear masks — they were not required, but they were offered, according to The New York Times. The guests included frontline health care workers and military service members.
But the Associated Press reported that many revelers appeared to be taking a more cautious approach — the crowds on the National Mall were noticeably thinner than in previous Fourth of July celebrations.
Saturday’s came one day after Trump spoke to a crowd at Mount Rushmore, delivering a combative speech attacking his political opponents and denouncing “left-wing mobs” that he accused of seeking to “defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children.”
His speech on Saturday contained similar themes, arguing that the country was “now in the process of defeating the radical left, the Marxists, the anarchists, the agitators, the looters, and people who in many instances have absolutely no clue what they are doing.”
Here’s how the White House’s Fourth of July event unfolded:
The celebrations featured a performance by the US Army’s Golden Knights parachute team, who floated through the air carrying an American flag.
The event also drew a number of protesters, who took to DC’s streets to demonstrate against racism and police brutality.
Trump delivered a speech that addressed the COVID-19 crisis only fleetingly, opting instead to focus on “the radical left,” whom he accused of seeking “to lie about the past in order to gain power in the present” and who “want us to be ashamed of who we are.”
His remarks came amid nationwide turmoil — both due to the pandemic and to six weeks of civil unrest after the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.
Trump’s speech wrapped up with a military air show that included dozens of fighter jets flying across the sky in formations.