Trump plans to turn Fourth of July into 'Trump rally', gets bleak history lesson

Andy Gregory
Friday 07 June 2019 08:00
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President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced grand plans for America’s Fourth of July celebrations that could re-shape the typically non-partisan event into what has been described as a “Trump rally”.

“HOLD THE DATE!” the president boomed on Twitter, as he unveiled his “Salute to America” event at Washington DC’s Lincoln Memorial, which is to include a “major fireworks display, entertainment and an address by your favourite president”.

While the number of surviving US presidents can be counted on one hand, Mr Trump felt the need to clarify who he meant by this, no doubt to save everyone considerable disappointment on the day.

Officials are still waiting to receive further details of his speech, but say it will require severely increased levels of security and pose challenges logistically.

However, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow was quick to point out that history was less than kind to another former president who tried to hijack Independence Day for his own ends.

In 1970, President Nixon decided to use the national holiday to boost dwindling support for the Vietnam War. He had just invaded Cambodia, further embroiling America in the foreign war, while at home four students had been killed during a campus protest.

Several entertainers refused to perform at the politicised event, and by the time it rolled around, the public mood was decidedly sour.

As Ms Maddow explained:

Before the bam of a fireworks display was over, about 20 policemen and an unknown number of young people had suffered cuts, bruises, and bloody noses...

..."As the religious service began and Kate Smith was about to begin ‘God Bless America’, about 100 of the youths marched through the water in the reflecting pool chanting ‘One, two, three, four, we don’t want your bleeping war’.

Protestors lit red, white and blue-coloured joints and waved Viet Cong flags, while the main crowd of around 350,000 people were tear-gassed inadvertently by police targeting the rebels.

While several of Mr Nixon's allies gave speeches at the event, the president himself stayed far away from the chaos that unfolded.

Some are already less than impressed with the current POTUS' plans.

As reported by the Washington Post, Independence Day has a long and sordid history of being used by white nationalists to bolster support for their movements.

It argues that, given the president's penchant for enabling and dog-whistling to the far-right, his hijacking of the Independence Day celebrations should be viewed "as part of this long lineage".

Given the impeachment buzz surrounding the President since the Mueller report (or since he took office, really), many will be doubtless be hoping that he'll avoid potential violence on a national holiday and find a more satisfying way to follow in Mr Nixon’s mis-steps.

HT: Raw Story

Read more: People aren't sure if they should celebrate 4 July in Trump's America

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