There was a moment of calm in the U.S. capital on Saturday (July 4) as police and rival groups of protesters paused to watch the Fourth of July fireworks.
But outside that oasis of time, divisions and tensions remain.
In an Independence Day speech at the White House, Donald Trump vowed to defeat the "radical left" - doubling down on comments he made at Mount Rushmore the previous evening.
"Those that are lying about our history; those who want us to be ashamed of who we are are not interested in justice or in healing. Their goal is demolition. Our goal is not to destroy the greatest structure on Earth - what we have built."
Just steps from where Trump spoke, peaceful protesters marched down Washington D.C.'s blocked off streets around the White House, Black Lives Matter Plaza and the Lincoln Memorial - and were confronted by chanting counter protesters, with some scuffles taking place.
In his speech Trump also claimed, without offering evidence, that 99% of coronavirus cases in the United States were "totally harmless".
That's as many states marked a record number of new COVID-19 cases.
He also claimed the US would have a vaccine or therapeutic solution "long before" the end of 2020.
Such a success would help the U.S. economy and Trump's chances of re-election but at the moment opinion polls show him trailing his Democrat challenger, former vice president Joe Biden, in key states.
Biden wrote a Fourth of July opinion piece that struck a contrasting tone and accused Trump of finding "new ways to tarnish and dismantle our democracy" every day.
In a separate letter to donors he said now was the chance to give "the marginalized, the demonized, the isolated, the oppressed a full share of the American dream".