Trump's July 4th parade cost taxpayers more than $5m

Watchdog group calls amount spent by National Park Service ‘offensive’

Adam Forrest
Thursday 11 July 2019 10:46 BST
Crowds begin to join July the Fourth celebration parade in Washington DC

Donald Trump’s “Salute to America” event on the Fourth of July cost US taxpayers a total of $5.35m (£4.75m), officials have revealed.

The Department of Defence said it contributed $1.2m (£1m) for last week’s military parade in the capital, while the city of Washington, DC put in $1.7m (£1.4m) to cover the event’s logistics.

The Interior Department and National Park Service spent another $2.45 (£2m) million on staffing costs, barricades and medical services, according to a letter shared with ABC News.

Congressman Raul Grijalva was among the Democrats condemning the cost of the president’s lavish celebration.

Mr Grijalva, chairman of the House committee overseeing the Interior Department, said the park service’s spending was “especially wrong” considering it had not yet paid off the bills from Mr Trump’s inauguration festivities.

The National Parks Conservation Association has called on the Department of Interior’s inspector general to examine the park service’s Salute to America spending.

Kristen Brengel, vice president of the watchdog group, called the sum devoted to the parade “offensive”.

Yet the National Park Service’s deputy director Dan Smith said the “exposure” generated by the event justified the cost.

“If you could tell me that for $2.5 million additional dollars the exposure we got from this televised event, it’s a great bang for the buck,” he told ABC News.

Mr Trump had claimed the total bill for the event would be “very little compared to what it is worth” and emphasised the private donations that would cover the cost of the fireworks display.

The $5.35m (£4.75m) spent by government does not include the $750,000 (£665,000) worth of fireworks provided by Ohio company Phantom Fireworks.

Nor does it include the cost of the military flyover – which came out of training budgets, according to the Pentagon.

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