Trump Fourth of July celebration: From tanks to jets, what to expect at the president's controversial party in Washington

'It will be the show of a lifetime!' the president has promised

Clark Mindock
New York
Wednesday 03 July 2019 21:45 BST
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(REUTERS)

Donald Trump will get his wish this Fourth of July, with a massive celebration on the national mall in Washington featuring all the fixings the US military has to offer for a president on a budget.

Mr Trump is expected to speak during the event, and has invited supporters to see him when he does so from in front of the Lincoln Memorial. The event, which Mr Trump has been teasing for months now, is a departure from the usual nonpartisan festivities to celebrate America’s Independence Day. That is, if a projected potential storm front doesn't roll through and ruin all the fun.

And, as with many of the president’s departures from US norms and traditions, the event has found a fair number of critics reminiscing about a simpler time when the Fourth of July was more about fireworks, beer, and hot dogs, and less of a display of politics framed by fighter jets.

Whatever the case, Mr Trump has described the event as a “Salute to America”, and has promised that the costs are well worth it.

“The cost of our great Salute to America tomorrow will be very little compared to what it is worth. We own the planes, we have the pilots, the airport is right next door (Andrews), all we need is the fuel,” Mr Trump tweeted on Tuesday.

He continued: “We own the tanks and all. Fireworks are donated by two of the greats. Nice!”

The White House has indicated that funding for the event could come from National Parks fees, but it is unclear if that is a foregone conclusion.

By the numbers, at least five tanks were seen being transported into Washington on top of train trailers.

In addition, the US plans on flying all three of its stealth aircraft, alongside an Air Force B-2 Spirit, Air Force F-22 Raptor, Navy F-35C Joint Strike Fighter, and the Boeing VC-25 that is named Air Force One when the president is on board.

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Critics have denounced the display as an unnecessary and costly event, with Democratic politicians saying that Mr Trump and the White House should be more forthcoming about the costs of the event.

But, regardless of price, the departure from post-9/11 tradition — presidents in that period have generally welcomed service members and their family to the White House on July Fourth — is sure to be politically fraught.

Mr Trump, in essence, is declaring himself the arbiter of patriotism in the United States. And, he’s promising quite the show: “Our July 4th Salute to America at the Lincoln Memorial is looking to be really big. It will be the show of a lifetime!” he tweeted on Wednesday.

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