WashPost Distorts Trump's Mount Rushmore Speech as Screed Defending 'White Domination'

July 5th, 2020 9:52 AM

President Trump’s rousing Friday night speech at Mount Rushmore made the front page of The Washington Post on Sunday. It was distorted, almost beyond recognition. The Page One headline was “Trump’s racial animus rattles GOP.”

Online, it was “Trump’s push to amplify racism unnerves Republicans who have long enabled him.”

There was no “News Analysis” label on this blatant distortion of the president’s speech. If you read the actual speech, it’s not a racist speech. Trump quoted Martin Luther King and credited Lincoln for “extinguishing the evil of slavery.” If you saw it, you won’t believe what Robert Costa and Philip Rucker shamelessly wrote. These “reporters” began:

President Trump’s unyielding push to preserve Confederate symbols and the legacy of white domination, crystallized by his harsh denunciation of the racial justice movement Friday night at Mount Rushmore, has unnerved Republicans who have long enabled him but now fear losing power and forever associating their party with his racial animus.

Although amplifying racism and stoking culture wars have been mainstays of Trump’s public identity for decades, they have been particularly pronounced this summer as the president has reacted to the national reckoning over systemic discrimination by seeking to weaponize the anger and resentment of some white Americans for his own political gain.

This account is incredibly dishonest. They're not even trying to accurately quote it.

Trump in this speech and protesters tearing down statues of Jefferson and Ulysses Grant, and circling around Lincoln statues. In his speech, the president said “Our people have a great memory.  They will never forget the destruction of statues and monuments to George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, abolitionists, and many others.”

The Post duo repeated the only-Confederates smear in paragraph eight: “Trump’s repeated championing of monuments, memorials and military bases honoring Confederate leaders has run up against the tide of modernity and a weary electorate that polls show overwhelmingly support the Black Lives Matter movement — a slogan that Trump said would be “a symbol of hate” if painted on Fifth Avenue in New York.”

The Post barely quoted from the speech, just plucking out snippets to cartoon it:

Trump put his strategy to resuscitate his troubled reelection campaign by galvanizing white supporters on display Friday night under the chiseled granite gaze of four past presidents memorialized in the Black Hills of South Dakota. He celebrated Independence Day with a dystopian speech in which he excoriated racial justice protesters as “evil” representatives of a “new far-left fascism” whose ultimate goal is “the end of America.”

“Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children,” Trump said to boos from a packed crowd of supporters. “Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our founders, deface our most sacred memorials, and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities.”

The Post put this in the caption under a black and white picture of President and Mrs. Trump under Mount Rushmore: “In a speech, he called racial-justice demonstrators ‘evil.’

That is grossly misleading. This was the actual passage from the speech:

Here tonight, 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. We will proclaim the ideals of the Declaration of Independence, and we will never surrender the spirit and the courage and the cause of July 4th, 1776.

Deep in the piece, a few named Trump advisers defend the president, and attack the media. But Costa and Rucker also trotted out Trump-hating Republicans like John Kasich, who smeared Republicans as Nazi collaborators: "I'm glad to see some Republicans moving the other way but it reminds me of Vichy France...."

Sounds like a guy who really wants to please CNN, not Republicans.