President Donald Trump has railed against the “cancel culture” of those who tried to tear down statues of Confederate leaders to mark 4 July at Mount Rushmore.
He condemned those who targeted statues of Confederate leaders as “angry mobs”.
Mr Trump called the racial equality demonstrations “a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children”.
“We will not be silenced,” he said.
The president, who has been heavily criticised for his handling of the US coronavirus pandemic, made little reference to the disease that has now claimed almost 130,000 American lives.
The US recorded its largest single-day rise in coronavirus infections on Friday, bringing the total to more than 2.5 million – the most of any country.
Masks and social distancing were not mandatory at the Mount Rushmore event, despite warnings by health officials.
The location, too, was controversial. Mount Rushmore features the carved faces of four US presidents, two of whom – George Washington and Thomas Jefferson – were slave-owners.