KEYSTONE, S.D. -- President Donald Trump and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem rallied his supporters during speeches at the Mount Rushmore Fireworks Celebration on Friday, July 3.
The celebration, which cost the state $350,000 and was funded through an economical development fund, wrapped up shortly before a thunderstorm descended upon the Black Hills area.
Trump’s 40-minute speech centered around calling out the liberal left and their attempts to dismantle the virtues the nation was founded upon. Trump said those who are trying to deface or destroy statues and monuments throughout the nation are doing so to “silence us, but we will not be silenced.”
Tribal leaders and activists have been calling for the removal of the presidential faces carved into Mount Rushmore, citing racists actions and statements the presidents had made during their lifetimes.
Trump said that’s not what America and Mount Rushmore represents, arguing that every child, “born or unborn, is made in the holy image of God.”
“We want free and open debate, not speech codes and cancel culture,” Trump said. “We stand tall, we stand proud, and we only kneel to the almighty God,” which was followed by applause from the crowd.
Noem made similar remarks in her speech preceding Trump’s, saying that the beauty of America is that no matter what, anyone born in America can become as successful as they aspire to be.
“Let us not destroy history, let us learn from it by preserving and imitating what is good about it,” Noem said.
“I was just a farm kid, now I’m the first female governor of South Dakota,” she added.
Noem said that rather than looking to the past to improve the nation’s future, some are trying to “wipe away the lessons of history.”
“Our government has the power it does because the people have consented to it,” Noem said.
She said that rather than focusing on the flaws of the nation’s founding fathers, people should focus on the virtues of those men that made this nation great.
“To use those flaws to condemn their ideals is unjust and self defeating,” Noem said. “Canceling our own generation is an attempt to cancel our own freedoms.”