Trump has taken over the country’s Fourth of July celebrations in Washington. He moved fireworks display from its usual spot on the Mall to be closer to the Potomac River and made plans to address the nation from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
Former aides say, Trump’s idea for a new Fourth of July celebration began after attending a Bastille Day parade in Paris in 2017. Before Air Force One took off, Trump came to the back of the staff cabin and laid out the a plan for a military parade in Washington (down to the types of tanks that he wanted in the streets and what planes he wanted to fly over.
This later became a Veterans Day-linked parade instead, before falling apart last August as backlash from the public over costs for the potential event torpedoed it. Trump blamed local officials in canceling the event.
This February, Trump announced on Twitter that Americans should hold July 4th open. (OK. Sure. It’s a holiday, doofus…)
“HOLD THE DATE!
Major fireworks display, entertainment and an address by your favorite President, me!”
Barf. No public announcements since then.
The Washington Post says,
Trump’s focus on Independence Day reflects a broader pattern of focusing on the details of projects important to him personally. He grew obsessed, for example, with the renovation of FBI headquarters in Washington, asking for building specs, floor plans and even furniture and carpet schemes, current and former aides said.
“He wanted to be the project manager,” said a former senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe Oval Office meetings.
No president has participated in a Fourth of July celebration on the Mall in recent memory, usually celebrating instead at the White House. President Ronald Reagan participated in a “Star Spangled Salute to America” at the Jefferson Memorial on July 3, 1987, which showcased an economic announcement, but the regular fireworks celebration happened the next day as usual.
The summer event has been broadcast live on television since 1947. Since 1981 it has been accompanied by a free concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol featuring musical stars of the day and a performance by the National Symphony Orchestra.
The new event is to be called A Salute to America, and will move the fireworks launch to West Potomac Park, a mile south of its usual location near the Washington Monument.
The revised Independence Day celebration is the result of two years of Trump trying to create a major patriotic event that is all about him.
Rep. Betty McCollum who chairs the House Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, said ,
“It’s not about any one president. It’s about how our nation came to be, because of a hardy band of brave men and women. It’s not about any one person, it’s about ‘We, the people.’ And if the president moves to make this about him, I think he will find the American public disappointed and angered by it.”
(Photo, Wikimedia Commons; via The Washington Post)