US President Donald Trump looks on during a joint press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda (out of frame) in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, June 24, 2020. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
Twitter, as it often does, had some questions for Donald Trump on Monday when “Gettysburg” began trending on the social media platform thanks to the president’s latest election-related tweet. Trump announced that the location of where he would accept the Republican Party’s nomination for his reelection was coming soon, tweeting that “We have narrowed the Presidential Nomination Acceptance Speech, to be delivered on the final night of the Convention (Thursday), to two locations — The Great Battlefield of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and the White House, Washington, D.C. We will announce the decision soon!”
The suggestion that he might host his acceptance speech at Gettysburg — the site of a literal war brought on by Confederates in the South — naturally left room for wide criticism. At Twitter’s obvious behest, many pundits pointed out how Trump’s gross choice of location speaks to his recent defense of confederate behavior (like protecting monuments and denouncing the Black Lives Matter movement), as well as just his general fascist-like conduct. The results? Well, here are some pointed criticisms:
Gettysburg would be quite the choice, given the president’s recent defense of generals from the side that lost that battle https://t.co/vKbzGaCnrU
— Jonathan Lemire (@JonLemire) August 10, 2020
He knows his side lost at Gettysburg, doesn’t he? pic.twitter.com/F3wkxIdYdu
— Jed Shugerman (@jedshug) August 10, 2020
If he gives the speech at Gettysburg he absolutely should be required by law to put on a fake beard
— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) August 10, 2020
but gettysburg is the site of one of your base’s greatest defeats https://t.co/cqYmqvHt5b
— Oliver Willis (@owillis) August 10, 2020
While Trump’s behavior and defense of white supremacy is always shocking, it should come as little to no surprise at this point. Trump has gone to bat numerous times over the years for the preservation of the Confederate Army’s past: from threatening to veto bills seeking to rename military bases after generals like Gen. Robert E. Lee, to his long standing defense of the presence of Confederate statues around the U.S., which dates back to at least 2017. His ardent defense of the symbols and names made famous because of the Confederate Army has raised eyebrows for years considering the Confederacy was infamously pro-slavery and compiled of white supremacists. He has also championed the lives of famous Confederate generals, whether he fully has a grasp on what they stood for or not.
But tweeting that Gettysburg is in the running for where he wants to give his acceptance speech is especially ironic given that the Confederate Army lost against the Union Army during the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. Calling it the “Great Battlefield,” Trump is now just blatantly supporting the bigoted beliefs that mounted into the Confederate Army, and he is doing so at a time when the country is seeking justice for violence against Black people.
But some onlookers voiced more serious concerns with Trump’s possible presence at Gettysburg, given that more than 3,500 Union soldiers are buried at the Gettysburg National Cemetery. Many noted that Trump giving the speech atop their many graves is a sign of disrespect, given what the Union stood for. Others likened his possible presence as the beginnings of another Civil War.
The Republican National Convention takes place on Monday, August 24 and ends on Thursday, August 27, when Trump will make his announcement. Until then, one can only hope he picks literally anywhere that wasn’t the site of a Confederate-induced war for his acceptance speech.
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