Trump campaign responds to criticism following the president's Mount Rushmore remarks

President Donald Trump speaks at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Friday, July 3, 2020, near...
President Donald Trump speaks at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Friday, July 3, 2020, near Keystone, S.D. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (GRAYDC)
Published: Jul. 6, 2020 at 4:23 PM EDT

The Trump campaign is responding to criticism following President Donald Trump's remarks at Mount Rushmore Friday night.

In front of a large crowd at the monument, Trump delivered a fiery speech in which he accused protesters who have pushed for racial justice of engaging in a “merciless campaign to wipe out our history.”

He zeroed in on the desecration by some demonstrators of monuments and statues across the country that honor those who have benefited from slavery, including some past presidents.

Critics say the president’s remarks were “dark and divisive.” Director of Press Communication for the Trump 2020 campaign, Erin Perrine, disagrees with those claims.

“This is the media and New York, Washington liberal elites trying to tell America how they should feel about a speech that was unifying; that was America first,” said Perrine. “It was about the greatness and the direction of this country.”

Perrine also responded to concerns about the president’s decision to host the event in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. She says President Trump wanted to take the opportunity to speak directly to the American people, adding the President had confidence in the precautions created by local authorities.

Ahead of Trump’s visit, Democratic National Committee spokesperson John Weber released the following statement:

“South Dakotans — and voters across the country — don’t need a president obsessed with his own photo ops, especially in the middle of a crisis. They need coronavirus tests, they need personal protective equipment, and they need a president who’s willing and able to lead us. But instead of living up to the most basic responsibilities of his office this Independence Day, Donald Trump is still downplaying the virus, calling for a slowdown of testing, bucking social distancing guidelines, and showing Americans why we can’t afford four more years of him in the White House," he said.

Copyright 2020 Gray DC. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.