Trump to visit Mount Rushmore amid controversy, coronavirus concerns

WION Web Team New York, New York, United States of America Jul 03, 2020, 08.37 PM(IST)

US President Donald Trump Photograph:( AFP )

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It will be Trump's latest event with large crowds, defying health experts' recommendations to avoid big gatherings amid recent spikes of COVID-19 cases across the country.

US President Donald Trump will begin his July Fourth celebrations with a trip to Mount Rushmore on Friday despite concerns about a large crowd amid the novel coronavirus pandemic and criticism about the visit.

It will be Trump's latest event with large crowds, defying health experts' recommendations to avoid big gatherings amid recent spikes of COVID-19 cases across the country.

Some 7,500 people are expected to attend the outdoor event. Masks will be available but are not required.

Trump will view a fireworks display with thousands of people at the South Dakota landmark, which depicts the images of US presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.

The site has not had fireworks since 2009 because of environmental concerns. Trump advocated for a resumption of the display, and the state says the surrounding Black Hills National Forest has "gained strength" since then and that fireworks technology has advanced.

Trump has been criticised for holding large events with little social distancing in Oklahoma and Arizona in recent weeks. On Thursday he predicted a "fireworks display like few people have seen."

Native Americans, who reportedly plan to protest during the trip, have criticised Trump's visit for increasing the risk of spreading the virus and for celebrating U.S. independence in an area that is sacred to them.

Trump will hold another celebration for the July Fourth holiday on Saturday in Washington.