Trump Blames Schools for Statue Protesters, Says Children Taught to 'Hate Their Own Country'

As racial justice protests continue to sweep the nation, President Donald Trump said that protesters who want to take down statues and monuments want to "end America."

The comments came during the president's Fourth of July Speech at Mount Rushmore on Friday night. Several thousand people gathered in South Dakota to listen to his address, most of which was focused on what he deemed the "left-wing cultural revolution."

"Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children," Trump said.

He continued, "The violent mayhem we have seen in the streets and cities that are run by liberal Democrats in every case is the predictable result of years of extreme indoctrination and bias in education, journalism, and other cultural institutions. Against every law of society and nature, our children are taught in school to hate their own country and to believe that the men and women who built it were not heroes but that they were villains."

Protests over racism and police brutality have been happening on a daily basis since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 25. Floyd, an unarmed Black man, was arrested by police because he matched the description of someone suspected of passing a counterfeit $20 bill. Video of the arrest shows officers kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes, during which Floyd could be heard saying "I can't breathe" before going motionless. Two autopsies have found Floyd died by homicide.

Trump did not address the Black Lives Matter movement or police brutality during his 40-minute address.

The demonstrations have also revived a debate about statues of Confederate Army leaders and slave owners. The Atlantic documented at least 27 monuments that have been brought down since the protests started, including many of Christopher Columbus and Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

Trump previously vowed to arrest anyone who tears down or vandalizes federal monuments. Those arrested could face up to 10 years in prison, he said in a Twitter post last week. At Mount Rushmore, Trump announced an executive order to create a "National Garden of American Heroes" that he said will feature "the statues of the greatest Americans to ever live."

"Make no mistake, this left-wing cultural revolution is designed to overthrow the American Revolution. In so doing, they would destroy the very civilization that rescued billions from poverty, disease, violence, and hunger and that lifted humanity to new heights of achievement, discovery, and progress," Trump said on Friday.

"To make this possible, they are determined to tear down every statue, symbol, and memory of our national heritage."

donald trump mount rushmore July 2020
President Donald Trump applauds as he attends Independence Day events at Mount Rushmore in Keystone, South Dakota, July 3, 2020. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images