Presidential candidate Joe Biden focused on racial justice in his July 4 message, hours after President Trump made a grim and confrontational speech about the “culture war” on Mount Rushmore.
The former vice president spoke to the camera in a video that included scenes of civil rights struggles and protests, past and present, as the country marks the national holiday amid calls nationwide for end police brutality and systemic racism.
He said: “Our country was founded on an idea:” We take these truths for granted, that all men are created equal “. We have never been up to the task. Jefferson himself did not do this – he held slaves, women were excluded. But once proposed, it was an idea that could not be retained.
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“Through it all, these words consumed our conscience and pushed us towards justice.”
Biden spoke of the ugly history of racism in the United States, the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and the murder of George Floyd by cops in Minneapolis in May, and called on the country to rise to the occasion. words that founded the nation.
“We now have a chance to give the marginalized, the demonized, the isolated, the oppressed, an entire part of the American dream. We have a chance to root out the roots of systemic racism in this country, ”he said.
The Democratic candidate’s video message did not mention the president but came hours after Mr. Trump deepened the division that provoked the country by accusing the protesters who urged racial justice to engage in a “merciless campaign to erase our history”.
At the foot of Mount Rushmore, on the eve of Independence Day, Trump gave a discordant tone to an electorate battered by a pandemic and burned by the recent high-level murders of blacks.
He focused on the desecration by some protesters of monuments and statues across the country that honor those who benefited from slavery, including some former presidents.
Four months after the election, Trump’s comments amounted to a direct appeal to the political base, including many disgruntled white votes, which led him to the White House in 2016.
“This movement openly attacks everyone’s legacy on Mount Rushmore,” said Trump.
He deplored “canceling culture” and accused some of the political left of hoping to “defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children”. He said Americans should speak with pride about their heritage and should not have to apologize for its history.
“We will not be terrorized, we will not be demeaned and we will not be intimidated by bad bad people,” added Trump. ” It will not arrive. ”
On Saturday, Mr. Biden is scheduled to attend the Essence Festival of Culture to hear black women while Mr. Trump is hosting a “Hi to America” event in DC.
AP contributed to this report