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US: Trump's powerful message of rage (opinion)

Opinion: Athletes and coaches played a huge role in changing Mississippi's state flag

  Opinion: Athletes and coaches played a huge role in changing Mississippi's state flag Action by athletes and coaches in the state of Mississippi helped lead to the removal of the Confederate emblem on the state flag.Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signed a bill Tuesday evening that mandates the removal of the state flag and bans future use of the Confederate emblem. Years of grassroots efforts and statewide activism went into ensuring Mississippi was no longer the only state to include the emblem of the Confederate battle flag on its flag. The politicians, lobbyists and everyday citizens who fought to make this change happen deserve plenty of credit for persisting and persevering.

Breathe easy, America. President Donald Trump's got this. A deadly pandemic is tearing through the country, but the statues are going to be all right.

Lincoln Borglum, Donald Trump are posing for a picture with Mount Rushmore National Memorial in the background: US President Donald Trump pumps his fist as he arrives for the Independence Day events at Mount Rushmore National Memorial in Keystone, South Dakota, July 3, 2020. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images) © Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images US President Donald Trump pumps his fist as he arrives for the Independence Day events at Mount Rushmore National Memorial in Keystone, South Dakota, July 3, 2020. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

Trump swooped into the heartland on Friday and delivered this news, along with a message of rage at the foot of Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota. Ignoring the fact that nearly 130,000 Americans have already died from Covid-19, with new cases topping 50,000 a day, he stoked fears of an "angry mob" engaged in "a merciless campaign to wipe out our history." In an address that could be called "American Carnage II" for following the emotional blueprint he laid out in his inaugural address, Trump declared that federal officers would be dispatched to protect monuments and statues wherever they were threatened.

This Is Angela Merkel’s Swan Song as Leader

  This Is Angela Merkel’s Swan Song as Leader For the next six months, Germany will try to do something counterintuitive: lead Europe “from the center.”And then there’s German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who’s also been having a relatively good pandemic. As she entered 2020, her 15th year in office, she looked exhausted. Having ruled out a fifth term and resigned as boss of her party, she was in effect a lame duck. But Covid changed all that. It rejuvenated Merkel as a leader.

Yes. You read that correctly. The President is moving quickly and decisively "to protect our monuments, arrest the rioters, and prosecute offenders to the fullest extent of the law." As a matter of fact, he said with pride, "yesterday federal agents arrested the suspected ringleader of the attack on the statue of the great Andrew Jackson in Washington, D.C."

Last week, protesters tried in vain to topple the bronze statue of Jackson in Lafayette Park, which faces the White House. (Four men were charged with destruction of federal property. Only one of the four has been apprehended so far, according to the Justice Department, and it's unclear whether he led the effort to topple the statue). The statue was just one of many that have been targeted in recent weeks as the country reconsiders the value in memorializing important historical figures who supported slavery or white supremacy.

'Awards Chatter' Podcast — Hillary Rodham Clinton ('Hillary')

  'Awards Chatter' Podcast — Hillary Rodham Clinton ('Hillary') The polarizing trailblazer who has had a front row seat to — and personally shaped — American history over the last 40 years lets loose about sexism, conspiracy theories and Trump (including how she'd fare against him if she was on the ballot in 2020 and whether he should be locked up).Clinton, of course, is far more accustomed to being centrally involved in trying to solve major problems facing America's, having served as a First Lady (1993-2001), as a United States Senator (2001-2009), as a Secretary of State (2009-2013) and as a candidate for president (2008 and 2016).

The renewed fervor around this debate is part of a nationwide reckoning with racism after the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Rayshard Brooks sparked mass protests calling for reform under the slogan "Black Lives Matter." While substantial change in the justice system will take time, the removal of monuments honoring Stonewall Jackson, Jefferson Davis and others who are readily identified with racism provides the country with a sense of symbolic progress.

In South Dakota, Trump tried to cast the anti-racist protest movement as a terrifying enemy. "Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children," he said. "They think the American people are weak and soft and submissive, but no, the American people are strong and proud and they will not allow our country and all of its values, history and culture to be taken from them."

'Not OK': Neil Young denounces the use of his songs at Trump's Mount Rushmore event

  'Not OK': Neil Young denounces the use of his songs at Trump's Mount Rushmore event Young has called out his songs being used at Trump events since 2015 after one of his hits was played during an official campaign announcement. "Donald Trump was not authorized to use 'Rockin' in the Free World' in his presidential candidacy announcement. Neil Young, a Canadian citizen, is a supporter of Bernie Sanders for President of the United States of America," said a statement from Young's representatives at the time.Recently, the family of the late Tom Petty condemned the apparent use of "I Won't Back Down" at Trump's campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in June.

Trump's 40-minute speech was a master class in rhetorical deception. He lumped together the racists of the Confederacy with the figures on Mt. Rushmore, insisting they are all being reconsidered in the same way. Several elected officials have ordered the removal of Confederate monuments in an effort to recognize the painful legacy of slavery, while the debate over monuments of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt is more nuanced, given their positive contributions to the nation. No sweeping effort is being made to remove all of these monuments and to suggest one exists amounts to sounding a false alarm.

In his speech, Trump appeared to want to associate himself with the more admired figures of the past; as he spoke of Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and others, Trump sounded like a fifth-grader reading random pages of a history book. There was Washington crossing the Delaware, Jefferson dispatching Lewis and Clark and Roosevelt overseeing the construction of the Panama Canal.

In the simpleton's view of history offered by Trump, there is no room for the slaves owned by Washington and Jefferson or for Roosevelt's white supremacy. According to this perspective, sins and flaws must be denied; otherwise the greats of history cannot be honored. This is, of course, what a child might think upon learning that his or her parents are not quite perfect. But with maturity, children, like citizens, can both revere their heroes for their strengths and criticize them for their failings -- and judge who, in the end, deserves to be on a pedestal.

Trump's bluster doesn't beat a virus, calm a restive nation

  Trump's bluster doesn't beat a virus, calm a restive nation WASHINGTON (AP) — Not long after noon on Feb. 6, President Donald Trump strode into the elegant East Room of the White House. The night before, his impeachment trial had ended with acquittal in the Republican-controlled Senate. It was time to gloat and settle scores. “It was evil," Trump said of the attempt to end his presidency. “It was corrupt. It was dirty cops. It was leakers and liars.” It was also soon forgotten. Also Feb. 6, in California, a 57-year-old woman was found dead in her home of natural causes then unknown. When her autopsy report came out, officials said her death had been the first from COVID-19 in the U.S.The “invisible enemy” was on the move.

While Native Americans have long sought the removal of Mt. Rushmore, arguing that it is carved on sacred land, this is an old conflict unlikely to be resolved. By suggesting there's a new national drive to destroy this well-known monument, and that some inflated enemy threatens all that is holy, Trump was playing a political cartoonist on Friday, exaggerating grotesquely for effect in an attempt to energize his reelection campaign. He summoned his followers to fight yet another culture war by dividing the nation he supposedly leads into patriots and traitors.

"Here tonight," he said, "before the eyes of our forefathers, Americans declare again, as we did 244 years ago, that we will not be tyrannized, we will not be demeaned and we will not be intimidated by bad, evil people. It will not happen."

This declaration, like so many of the disjointed passages in Trump's speech, would make a perfect soundbite for a campaign ad. Always eager to be seen as a fighter and a champion, Trump left out the real battle he is losing -- to the coronavirus-- and invented another so that he could pose as a valiant defender of this country.

To satisfy Trump's selfish vanity, he had brought together more than more than 7,000 people, packed in tight to hear the speech. The gathering flouted the federal government's public health guidance on social distancing and very few in attendance wore the face masks recommended to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus. As the band played at Mt. Rushmore, news broke that Kimberly Guilfoyle, a Trump campaign official and Donald Trump Jr.'s girlfriend, tested positive for the virus.

The absurdity of Donald Trump's night in South Dakota might be merely laughable if the country weren't staring in the face of death and suffering. In days, or perhaps weeks, we'll likely learn whether the gathering facilitated the spread of the coronavirus. By then, pollsters may also be able to tell us whether Trump's political pathogens -- anger, distortion, misinformation -- are spreading as widely or rapidly.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Michael D'Antonio © Toni Raiten-D'Antonio. Michael D'Antonio

Amid rising coronavirus cases, the Trump campaign struggles to get its rally machine going .
With just four months until Election Day, the Trump campaign is struggling to deploy what was supposed to be a chief feature of the President's reelection effort -- the signature Trump rally. © Win McNamee/Getty Images U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at a campaign rally at the BOK Center, June 20, 2020 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Three weeks after the poorly attended Tulsa event, the hangover is still being felt inside the campaign, aides and advisers tell CNN.

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