WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- President Donald Trump tweeted on Wednesday that the added expense for his July Fourth “Salute to America” event will be worth it amid growing criticisms about the added cost to taxpayers.
- The event to be held on the National Mall will include a display of army tanks and military flyovers.
- The Washington Post reported that the National Park Service is using funds that would have been used to do repairs on the parks, totaling nearly $2.5 million.
President Donald Trump on Wednesday responded to criticisms over the amount of money it is costing American taxpayers for his July 4th Salute to America event.
“The cost of our great Salute to America tomorrow will be very little compared to what it is worth,” Trump tweeted. “We own the planes, we have the pilots, the airport is right next door (Andrews), all we need is the fuel. We own the tanks and all. Fireworks are donated by two of the greats. Nice!”
Trump tweeted on Tuesday that Phantom Fireworks and Fireworks by Grucci were donating their services for the event.
“Our July 4th Salute to America at the Lincoln Memorial is looking to be really big,” the president also tweeted Wednesday. “It will be the show of a lifetime!”
While the Pentagon has declined to give specifics on how much the military’s participation will cost taxpayers, the Washington Post reported that the National Park Service is “diverting nearly $2.5 million in entrance and recreation fees primarily intended to improve parks across the country to cover costs.”
Trump’s demand on putting on a big show — complete big tanks display, military bands, fireworks and military flyovers — has received criticisms from Democrats, city officials and several U.S. military chiefs.
Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser told NPR that she has “some concerns about a president not celebrating the military but glorifying military might.”
The White House is distributing VIP tickets to Republican donors and political appointees for the event, prompting objections from Democratic lawmakers who say that the Trump campaign should foot the bill, according to AOL.com.
Democrat Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico, a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies tweeted: “This is beyond the pale. The American people pay these entrance fees to make improvements at our national parks — not to boost President Trump’s campaign. The National Mall is not the place to hold a de facto political rally.”
The Post added that the Pentagon is concerned that the tanks “will pulverize pavement in Washington, as they did during a parade in June 1991 after the Gulf War, and that the city will be left with the bill.”
In 2017, Trump attended the Bastille Day parade in France and since hoped to replicate a similar display in the United States.
The White House has refused to disclose the actual cost of the event.