Trump Says Tanks Will Be Part of July 4th Celebration in Washington

Trump Says Tanks Will Be Part of July 4th Celebration in Washington

Trump is reportedly planning to give a speech from the Lincoln Memorial and cordon off a large area around it-cutting off what many consider to be "hands-down best spot in Washington for fellowship and fireworks", per the Washington Post.

Also on the agenda are an extended fireworks display and flypasts by Air Force One, the custom Boeing 747 used by US presidents, and the US Navy's Blue Angels jet squadron.

"This is going to be a fantastic Fourth of July with increased access across the National Mall for the public to enjoy music, flyovers, a spectacular fireworks display, and an address by our Commander-in-Chief", Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said in a release.

Trump, casting the extravaganza as a "Salute to America", tweeted on Tuesday that military leaders are "thrilled" to participate.

Flyovers, military bands ... and tanks?

His administration had wanted a parade that had been planned for Veterans Day in November 2018, but it was eventually postponed after costs ballooned to $90 million, three times the initial estimate.

The Pentagon declined to comment on any costs associated with the July 4th celebration and with the units associated.

Critics across the board are concerned Trump is using Independence Day to politicize the military and turn the typically non-partisan celebration in the nation's capitol into a pro-Trump rally.

The list of fighter jets and other planes involved in Thursday's military flyover also has grown, with the Pentagon carrying out requests from the White House while the Interior officials organize the overall celebration.

There'll be "beautiful" tanks in this display of USA military might but they won't rumble down Pennsylvania Avenue. One concern was that the vehicles would cause structural damage to Washington's streets. The U.S. traditionally has not embraced showy exhibitions of raw military power as a claim of global prestige and influence.

They also question how much the event will cost the cash-strapped National Park Service.

In a statement, Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, New Jersey, said "Trump's plan to speak in the middle of the National Mall is flying under the radar right now".

One anonymous White House official told HuffPost, "This speech will not be political".

A White House official confirmed the ticketed area would be for VIPs, friends and family, and members of the military but did not provide information about who was on the guest list. "This is routine for events like the White House Christmas Open Houses, Garden Tours in spring and fall, etc".

Advocacy group Code Pink wants to get a permit to fly an inflatable blimp depicting the president in a diaper.

He said the event will "be like no other, it'll be special".

Washington Monument (C) and US Capitol (R) are seen on the National Mall from air October 17, 2012 above Washington, DC. "We've had some challenges trying to get it on to private property".

City officials have expressed concern that the road surfaces will be damaged by the tank tracks.

Trump said his event would only add to what has always been considered a nonpartisan day, when Americans of all stripes gather across the country to celebrate the nation's founding.

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