Senator Tammy Duckworth says that, during his address at Mount Rushmore on Friday, President Trump “spent all his time talking about dead traitors.”
This is a flat-out lie. It is entirely untrue. It is invented from whole cloth. You can read the speech here and see for yourself…
I care because (a) I don’t think it’s good for America to have a press corps that lies as brazenly as ours does, and (b) because what Trump actually said is exactly what we should want American presidents to say. The Confederacy was a monstrous and unsalvageable tyranny, led by figures who explicitly rejected the American Founding. It needed crushing, and it is a good thing that it was crushed. The Revolution, by contrast, was a unparallelled leap forward, the consequences of which have been almost entirely salutary, not only for America, but for the world.
At Mount Rushmore, Trump made a speech about the Revolution, not about the Confederacy. I know this because I can read. “Declaration of Independence” appears in the speech three times. “Revolution” and “Founders” appear four times each. “1776” appears five times. The phrase “all men are created equal” is singled out as a set of “immortal words” that “set in motion the unstoppable march of freedom.” By contrast, “Confederacy” isn’t there at all, nor are “Stephens,” “Davis,” “Lee,” or “Forrest,” and the sections on the Civil War are vehicles for the adulation of Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation.