President Trump seen rehearsing historic July Fourth “Salute to America” speech. (Photos by Rueters)
So far the Orange Menace has spoken in public as if he’s president only of his base of true believers. Is there any expectation this Thursday he will step up — on the steps of the memorial to the revered Abraham Lincoln — and speak as president for all of us, citizen and immigrant alike? Remember Lincoln’s Second Inaugural address, “With malice toward none, with charity for all”? Not a chance after you read his prepared remarks, a copy of which was secretly slipped to Rueters three days ahead of time.
July 1, 2019
By Andrew Squibley and Arthur Bushwhacker, The Falling Wallendas of International High-Wire Journalism
“Democracy Dies in Darkness…Hello Darkness, My Old Friend”
WASHINGTON, DC (RUETERS) — Images of “American carnage,” the memorable phrase from President Trump’s inaugural speech, and “presidential harassment” over congressional investigations into everything Trump related, will feature prominently in the president’s planned July Fourth speech at the Lincoln Memorial, according to an advance copy provided Rueters.
Breaking with tradition, when previous White House occupants have stayed home and watched fireworks over the National Mall, Trump will plant himself in the middle of the country’s 243rd birthday celebrations, turning what would be a unifying experience for all Americans into a bitter denunciation of political rivals and “everything else that pisses him off — which is a lot,” one of his speechwriters told Rueters just days before the event.
AND STILL ANOTHER BREAK WITH TRADITION
The national birthday celebration, to be called “A Salute to America,” will shift the fireworks launch to West Potomac Park, less than a mile southwest of its usual location near the Washington Monument.
The revised Independence Day celebration is the culmination of two years of attempts by Trump to create a major patriotic event centered on him and his supporters, including failed efforts to mount a military parade modeled on the Bastille Day celebration in France.
So his speech at the memorial will sound more like another rally for his re-election next year than the humble, comforting language meant to sooth a broken and bleeding nation in the last weeks of the Civil War delivered by the 16th president in March 1865 at his second inauguration.
Here is a draft of the speech that White House insiders told Rueters Trump would deliver the afternoon of July 4th. We suggest you take a deep breath, first.
The National Parks Service has ceased providing estimated crowd sizes, but longtime observers told Rueters they think only a few thousand mostly white citizens will be listening to the president’s “Salute to America” address.
“If you’ve seen any of Trump’s campaign rallies,” one former Democratic campaign manager said, “they all begin to sound alike: ‘My enemies are enemies of the people, Hillary Clinton should still be locked up, and I’m being unfairly attacked by Congress.’
“You won’t hear him talking about corruption in his administration, failed policies and dead immigrant kids. I’m not even sure he knows how to give an uplifting, patriotic speech,” the manager said. “He should stick to themes he knows best, including carnage and harassment.”