If there was ever a time in Donald Trump’s presidency when the country needed to hear a message of unity and hope, it would be this fourth of July. The death of George Floyd led to weeks of protests across the country and was a turning point for the Black Lives Matter movement. All this while the coronavirus pandemic continues to disproportionately affect people of color and so far, caused the death of over 130,000 Americans and cost 25 million more their jobs.
This was the moment for our president to deliver a speech that could reach every American, reigniting our sense of national pride, giving hope to the hopeless, and reassuring us that our best days are still ahead.
What we got instead was a president using the holiday that was suppose to be a symbol of patriotism to stoke a culture war, delivering an angry rant against his political enemies and protesters tearing down statues. Standing in the shadows of Mount Rushmore, Trump made an impassioned plea to his base in what was nothing more than a Trump campaign rally.
He vowed to protect monuments that many see as symbols of racial oppression. He railed against far-left fascism and cancel culture at the event where there was no social distancing and attendees were maskless, leaving them susceptible to the virus that has so far killed over 130,000 of our fellow citizens.
In contrast, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden offered a message of hope and urged all of us to work towards the ideals laid out in the Declaration of Independence.
“Our country was founded on an idea: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ We’ve never lived up to it. Jefferson himself didn’t, he held slaves, women were excluded. But once proposed, it was an idea that couldn’t be restrained,” he said.
“Through it all, these words have gnawed at our conscience and pulled us towards justice. We have a chance to rip the roots of systemic racism out of this country. We have a chance to live up to the words that founded this nation. This Independence Day, let’s not just celebrate the words. Let’s celebrate that promise and commit to work — the work we must do to fulfill that promise.”
The contrast between the two messages we’ve seen today shows once again that Donald Trump is unfit to lead. He lives in an alternate universe where the main issue in the country right now is people tearing down statues and wanting to rename military bases named after confederate generals. He is out touch and can only speak to his base. Biden on the other hand, speaks to the nation.