Former Entertainment Tonight host Mary Hart surprised many by hosting President Donald Trump's controversial July 4th celebration at Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota Friday night. Hart, who was born in the state, was widely criticized for attending the event, and also shocked many by using a white power symbol during her speech introducing Trump. Even celebrities like Jane Lynch and Judd Apatow spoke out against Hart's appearance.
Trump's speech was given amid the coronavirus pandemic and included a brief message to the "wonderful veterans, law enforcement, first responders, and the doctors, nurses, and scientists working tirelessly to kill the virus." His audience ignored social distancing guidelines and it appeared that very few people wore masks. Instead, his speech focused on calling out "new far-left fascism that demands absolute allegiance" and the destruction of statues. He claimed there is a "left-wing cultural revolution is designed to overthrow the American Revolution," and they want to "tear down every statue, symbol, and memory of our national heritage."
The president also announced the creation of a "National Garden of American Heroes," which he plans to establish through an executive order. "My Administration will not abide an assault on our collective national memory," Trump's executive order reads, reports CBS News. "In the face of such acts of destruction, it is our responsibility as Americans to stand strong against this violence, and to peacefully transmit our great national story to future generations through newly commissioned monuments to American heroes." The plan is to have the garden open to the public by July 4, 2026.
Here’s Mary Hart casually making a white power symbol during a speech introducing trump. https://t.co/KYrs5VVCCx— Molly Jong-Fast🏡 (@MollyJongFast) July 4, 2020
The one part of Hart's appearance that attracted the most attention came when she used the OK symbol with both hands before introducing the president. The gesture is recognized by the Anti-Defamation League as a "racist" hand sign, although noting that it usually is harmless in most contexts. However, it took on a different meaning starting in 2017 thanks to 4chan users who claimed the sign was actually a "W" and "P" for "white power." Although this started as a hoax, some white supremacists began using it themselves, leading to some people being falsely accused of being white supremacists while meaning to use it in a harmless way.prevnext
Son Alec/AJ is a special assistant to the president for legislative affairs, and former Mulvaney aide. https://t.co/aw9ZJ20MkE— Rufus T. Firefly (@RufusTFirefly99) July 4, 2020
Hart also has a family connection to the White House. Her son, Alec "AJ" Sugarman is a special assistant to the president for legislative affairs, according to his LinkedIn page. Sugarman came to the White House through former interim Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, working for him when Mulvaney still led the Office of Management and Budget, notes Politico. In 2015 and 2016, Sugarman worked for Sen. Marco Rubio's presidential campaign a s a research analyst.prevnext
Mary Hart. Shame on you. https://t.co/DTL7VA8bBP— Jane Lynch (@janemarielynch) July 4, 2020
I know it sounds lame and odd but Mary Hart working with Trump makes me sad. Not if John Tesh did it level sad. Not Leesa Gibbons doing it sad. Not even Dixie Whatley level sad. But it’s a bummer when an ET host supports a racist, corrupt, life stealing con man. https://t.co/NRWUiGDwGm— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) July 4, 2020
Is anyone still harboring doubts that donald trump is an out and out fascist? ANYONE?🤨— There are some who call me...TIM (@TimNoEgo) July 4, 2020
She's throwing the fascist salute. In front of Mt. Rushmore. 😡 https://t.co/LLgFIT33QM
You know what? I feel vindicated. I NEVER liked Mary Hart. But I always felt bad b/c she was supposed to be America's "sweetheart". Something about her gave me the willies. Now, I know, I should TRUST my gut instinct!! #MaryHart— Aliya Inam (@AliyaInam) July 4, 2020