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. It also stands on land that was taken from the indigenous Lakota Sioux by the US government in the 1800s.
What else did Trump say?
Addressing Mount Rushmore itself, the president said the South Dakota landmark would “stand forever as an eternal tribute to our forefathers and to our freedom”.
“This monument will never be desecrated, these heroes will never be defaced,” he told a cheering crowd.