Speaking to thousands of Americans at Mount Rushmore on the eve of Independence Day, President Donald Trump warned that the “left-wing cultural revolution” was “designed to overthrow the American revolution” and said, “our children are taught in school to hate their own country.”
“Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children,” Trump said in his address at an outdoor amphitheater at the foot of the South Dakota landmark.
“Those who seek to erase our heritage want Americans to forget our pride and our great dignity, so that we can no longer understand ourselves or America’s destiny,” the president said in his speech.
“This monument will never be desecrated. Mount Rushmore will stand forever as an eternal tribute to our forefathers and our freedom,” Trump said of the monument that features former Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.
“Make no mistake, this left-wing cultural revolution is designed to overthrow the American revolution,” Trump warned. “Our children are taught in school to hate their own country.”
The president then announced that he has signed an executive order to create a statuary park known as the National Garden of American Heroes (National Garden) to “honor those who came before” and inspire the next generation.
“I am announcing the creation of a new monument to the giants of our past. I am signing an executive order to establish the National Garden of American Heroes, a vast outdoor park that will feature the statues of the greatest Americans to ever live,” Trump said.
The location of the National Garden has yet to be decided, but the order stipulates that it would be opened before July 4, 2026, marking the 250th anniversary of the proclamation of the Declaration of Independence.
"Statues should depict historically significant Americans ... who have contributed positively to America throughout our history," the order says.
"These statues are silent teachers in solid form of stone and metal. They preserve the memory of our American story and stir in us a spirit of responsibility for the chapters yet unwritten. These works of art call forth gratitude for the accomplishments and sacrifices of our exceptional fellow citizens who, despite their flaws, placed their virtues, their talents, and their lives in the service of our Nation. These monuments express our noblest ideals: respect for our ancestors, love of freedom, and striving for a more perfect union," it continues.
"The term 'historically significant American' means an individual who was, or became, an American citizen and was a public figure who made substantive contributions to America’s public life or otherwise had a substantive effect on America’s history. The phrase also includes public figures such as Christopher Columbus, Junipero Serra, and the Marquis de La Fayette, who lived prior to or during the American Revolution and were not American citizens, but who made substantive historical contributions to the discovery, development, or independence of the future United States," the order adds.
The order comes as statues of American historical figures have been desecrated and toppled by rioters across the U.S.
In California, rioters last month toppled a statue of Father Junipero Serra at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Serra was a missionary from Spain who traveled to Mexico in the 1700s to share the Gospel. They also destroyed a statue of Ulysses S. Grant, a Republican who helped to defeat the Confederates and win the Civil War. Grant was later elected as the 18th president of the United States. And in Madison, Wisconsin, rioters tore down a statue of abolitionist Col. Hans Christian Heg and threw it into Lake Monona.
Also last month, rioters in Portland, Oregon, toppled a statue of George Washington, the nation’s first president, and draped a U.S. flag on top of the head of the statue and set it on fire. After the statue crashed to the ground, another U.S. flag was set on fire and urinated on.
“Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our founders, deface our most sacred memorials, and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities,” Trump said. “They think the American people are soft and weak and submissive. But the American people are strong and proud, and they will not allow our country, and all of its values, history, and culture to be taken from them.”
Trump added it was “a new far-left fascism that demands absolute allegiance.”
“If you do not speak its language, perform its rituals, recite its mantras, and follow its commandments then you will be censored, banished, blacklisted, persecuted, and punished. Not going to happen to us,” he said.
Trump, who recently signed a separate executive order protecting monuments that includes a penalty of up to 10 years in jail, warned that anyone who targets “symbols of national heritage” could be brought to justice with “the fullest extent of the law.”
Other names listed in the order for states to be erected in the National Garden include: John Adams, Susan B. Anthony, Clara Barton, Daniel Boone, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, Henry Clay, Davy Crockett, Frederick Douglass, Amelia Earhart, Benjamin Franklin, Billy Graham, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Douglas MacArthur, Dolley Madison, James Madison, Christa McAuliffe, Audie Murphy, George S. Patton Jr., Ronald Reagan, Jackie Robinson, Betsy Ross, Antonin Scalia, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harriet Tubman, Booker T. Washington, George Washington, and Orville and Wilbur Wright.
As it’s four months before the presidential election, many of Trump supporters chanted, “four more years” at the event.
Earlier in the day, protesters joined native Americans who blocked roads to demonstrate against the celebration of U.S. independence in an area that they said was sacred to them, Reuters reported.
Trump is scheduled to hold a Fourth of July celebration on Saturday in Washington.