It wouldn’t be a Donald Trump event if it didn’t include at least one moral outrage. By any measure, Trump’s Rushmore event was exactly the kind of spectacle he wanted—except for the part where only about half as many people came as predicted. But that was okay, because Trump’s team zip-tied the chairs together, providing the illusion of a crowd while giving a huge middle finger to social distancing in the middle of a pandemic.
But even Trump’s brutally dark and divisive speech might have been an also ran to what was happening down the road. That’s where National Guard forces were threatening a group of Lakota protesters. In the process, they committed an act recognized as a war crime around the world, and this time it wasn’t just using chemical weapons on civilians.
As Indian Country Today reports, more than 100 “treaty defenders” were among the protesters along the road leading up to the Rushmore carvings. For much of the afternoon, police held them aside to allow Trump supporters to climb the mountain. That allowed the epic sight of Trump’s white followers shouting “go home” at Native American leaders as they protested Trump’s presence on their sacred land, the desecration of the mountain, and the breach of the treaty that awarded the area to the Lakota “forever.”
As with protesters of George W. Bush during the Iraq invasion, protesters were told to leave the area and assembled at a “free speech zone” located conveniently out of sight of both the media and Trump supporters. That option was just as attractive as it was in 2003. Eventually at least 15 protesters were arrested and protester’s vehicles were towed away.
But as National Guard forces arrived to join the blockade, it wasn’t so much the completely unnecessary presence that generated the most notice — it was their mode of arrival.
— Mike Holden (@KnowParty) July 3, 2020
The use of medical vehicles to disguise the movement of troops is a violation of the Geneva convention and a crime on any battlefield on the planet. But, as has been made obvious in both Washington D. C. and elsewhere, American citizens are not being awarded the rights that enemies get during war.
Meanwhile, right up the hill, Trump was claiming there is a “merciless campaign to wipe out our history.” And he should know, because he’s leading that campaign.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.