To President Donald Trump, it appears as though an ever-increasing number of key elements of the U.S. system revolve around himself. The Interior Department has confirmed his plans for celebrations surrounding the Fourth of July in D.C., where in a clear break with precedent it turns out he will be giving a speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and there are plans for flyovers of military aircraft, including the plane normally used as Air Force One.
For about the last fifty years or so, the public celebration in D.C. surrounding the nation’s independence day has been nonpartisan and without a presidential address — but Trump is making himself a main attraction this year. Exemplifying his approach to the event, back in February he tweeted about his plans including a “major fireworks display, entertainment and an address by your favorite President, me!”
Talk about egomania.
There are other changes too, like the opening of the World War II Memorial and Reflecting Pool area for public viewing of the traditional fireworks display, which this year will be held at West Potomac Park instead of the traditional spot behind the Lincoln Memorial. Trump used the same area for celebration on the occasion of his inauguration back in 2017, hosting a concert on the spot that was followed by a fireworks display from that same venue behind the monument. He did not speak at the time.
The Fourth of July event this year could be a kind of make-up for the Veteran’s Day event Trump planned for D.C. that never actually materialized in the face of skyrocketing costs. After a trip to France for their Bastille Day celebrations, he kicked off his campaign for a similar event featuring a military parade back home, but he eventually ran into the brick wall of a cost of over $20 million — which Trump, of course, blamed on local leaders.
The Fourth of July speech Trump gives in place of that defunct event — which officials have said they’re considering holding this year instead — comes just a short time after Trump kicked off his re-election campaign with a rally in Orlando, Florida. Although it’s not immediately clear what Trump might be saying come the holiday in his “Salute to America” address, there’s a clear recent precedent thanks to that Orlando rally for him using his public appearances to push his lie-ridden political agenda. It’s not as though he’s ever proven keen on respecting boundaries between campaigning and governance in the first place — he gave a speech at the Boy Scouts of America convention in 2017 that quickly drew wide derision for essentially turning into yet another presentation of the president’s campaign agenda.
Trump certainly has an uphill battle with his campaign considering issues like the leaked poll numbers from inside his own campaign that show him losing to Joe Biden in a hypothetical general election match-up by large margins across the U.S. Biden is a leading presidential candidate, but other Democratic contenders like Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Kamala Harris have polled well against Trump too.
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