President Trump Has Planned a Controversial Fourth of July '
President Donald Trump will deliver a presidential address at a controversial #8220Salute to America#8221 celebration at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall on the Fourth of July featuring heavy military equipment and heads of major military branches.
The event, which will be added on to the annual ldquoCapitol Fourthrdquo concert and D.C.rsquos usual parade, is intended to honor the five branches of the military, but critics say it blurs the lines between politics and the military, politicizes a nonpartisan celebration and offers visuals reminiscent of Chinese or Russian events. Some D.C. residents are also concerned about damage to local roads from tanks.
Herersquos what you need to know.Why is Trump giving a speech on the 4th of July? Members of the 5e Regiment de Dragons (5th Dragoon Regiment) parade on Leclerc tanks during the annual Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris on July 14, 2017. ALAIN JOCARD—AFP/Getty Images
Trump says the parade was inspired by watching the Bastille Day festivities in France in July of 2017.
A few days after the event, during an Oval Office interview, the president had this exchange with the New York Timesrsquo Maggie Haberman:
TRUMP: And it was one of the most beautiful parades I have ever seen. And in fact, we should do one one day down Pennsylvania Ave.
HABERMAN: I wondered if you were going to say that.
TRUMP: Irsquove always thought of that.
TRUMP: Irsquove always thought of that. Irsquove thought of it long before.
It was still on his mind a few months later at another meeting with French president Emmanuel Macron. ldquoTo a large extent, because of what I witnessed, we may do something like that on July Fourth in Washington down Pennsylvania Avenue, if I have your approval,rdquo Trump said at a joint press conference with Macron. ldquoI donrsquot know. Wersquore gonna have to try and top it, but we had a lot of planes going over and a lot of military might, and it was really a beautiful thing to see.rdquo
Trump initially tried to make the parade happen on either Veteransrsquo Day or the 4th of July in 2018. But the president faced criticism for the price tag for the taxpayer-funded event, initially estimated at $10 million but later upped to as high as $92 million. (By comparison, Trump called $14 million joint war exercises with South Korea that he canceled ldquotremendously expensive.rdquo)