President Donald Trump has taken over the traditionally non-partisan D.C. celebration of the Fourth of July and will be delivering a speech as a centerpiece of the event this year — and, according to The Washington Post, is demanding that tanks or other armored military vehicles be a part of the celebration. He has made similar demands in the past, but those plans surrounding a potential Veteran’s Day celebration last fall in D.C. fell through, in part because of the prohibitive cost of tens of millions of dollars and also in light of the possible damage to roadways following military vehicles rolling through. He seems undeterred from pursuing the military assets as props this time around though, and it’s one of numerous key details that remained unresolved as this week dawned even with just days to go until the Fourth of July itself.
As The Post explains, normally events of this magnitude have a designated event producer. In this case, Trump himself is serving in that capacity, having already received regular briefings from Interior Secretary David Bernhardt about the event and himself weighing in on topics down to the planned pyrotechnics displays. The event thereby seems to be functioning as a way for Trump to put his egotism on full display.
Some interests have expressed deep concern at the way the program is developing. For instance, the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks Chair Phil Francis asserted:
‘It’s irresponsible to ask the National Park Service to absorb the costs of an additional and political event when there are so many unmet needs in the parks. The men and women of the National Park Service have been asked to do more with less for too long. Funds should be directed to the agency’s highest needs such as operation of the parks and the maintenance backlog and should not be directed to support political objectives.’
Trump doesn’t seem to care about their worries.
His event is being billed as a “Salute to America” and besides the area for the public, will also have a designated area for his closest supporters to watch his speech. Despite the grand plans, some of the other issues that remained unresolved as this week got underway included how tickets would be distributed to those beneficiaries and even how attendees would be efficiently and effectively moved through security checkpoints. These are the kinds of issues you’d expect would be handled for a major event on the National Mall long before it’s just days away.
Trump got his original idea to have a military-centered celebration in D.C. after attending a Bastille Day celebration in France in 2017. He’s been pushing almost ever since to hold a feat of political theater wherein the military can be used as a prop to the supposed greatness of his administration — or whatever.
He has in the past used what was supposed to be a nonpartisan environment for definite political purposes, and it remains to be seen exactly what Trump might say on Thursday and if he really did turn the public Independence Day celebration in the nation’s capital into a monument to his ego and re-election campaign.
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