As US strug­gles with virus, Trump heads to Mt Rush­more for July 4

The Asian Age - - Front Page -

Wash­ing­ton, July 3: Un­der fire for his si­lence in the face of Amer­ica’s spi­ralling Coro­n­avirus caseload, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump heads to Mount Rush­more on Fri­day for a night of fire­works that he hopes will soothe a na­tion he has strug­gled to unite.

On the eve of the coun­try’s In­de­pen­dence Day, the Repub­li­can leader will speak in the shadow of four of his no­table pre­de­ces­sors: Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton, Thomas Jef­fer­son, Theodore Roo­sevelt and Abra­ham Lin­coln, whose heads are carved into the gran­ite in South Dakota.

The bil­lion­aire real es­tate mogul-turned-pres­i­dent, who has seem­ingly turned a blind eye to the shock­ing increase in the num­ber of virus cases in many US states, has been openly ex­u­ber­ant about the Rush­more event.

Some 7,500 peo­ple are ex­pected to at­tend -- and so­cial dis­tanc­ing is not on the agenda. “We’re go­ing to have a tremen­dous evening. It’s go­ing to be a fire­works dis­play like few peo­ple have seen. It’s go­ing to be very ex­cit­ing,” he said on Thurs­day.

Will Trump speak about the pan­demic that has claimed nearly 1,30,000 Amer­i­can lives, and the resur­gence of cases in the coun­try’s south and west?

The na­tion’s top in­fec­tious diseases ex­pert, An­thony Fauci, has said the uptick “puts the en­tire coun­try at risk.” So will Trump wear a face mask, set­ting an ex­am­ple for the na­tion af­ter re­sist­ing for months, as many politician­s and oth­ers, even in his own camp, have asked him to do?

The Repub­li­can pres­i­dent is in a po­lit­i­cal predica­ment,

badly trail­ing his Demo­cratic ri­val Joe Bi­den in the polls with four months to go be­fore the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

For now, he is stick­ing with one tried-and-true mes­sage, that he con­veyed on Thurs­day: the coro­n­avirus cri­sis is be­ing “han­dled,” the US econ­omy is “roar­ing back,” and 2021 is go­ing to be a “phe­nom­e­nal” year.

But in con­trast with Europe, in­fec­tion rates and daily case to­tals are in­creas­ing in the United States, and some states are beat­ing their own grim records nearly every day.


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