Washington Prepares for a July 4 Spectacle, Starring and Produced by President Trump

  
Via:  john-russell  •  2 months ago  •  27 comments

Washington Prepares for a July 4 Spectacle, Starring and Produced by President Trump
Instead, Mr. Trump has ordered the last-minute transformation of the traditional activities of Independence Day into what he calls "a celebration of America" and that critics call a celebration of Donald J. Trump.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


WASHINGTON -- Two Bradley armored vehicles rumbled into place on Wednesday in front of the Lincoln Memorial, to be joined later by two Abrams tanks parked nearby. Cranes were putting into place the scaffolding for Jumbotron screens. And workers raced to finish a red, white and blue stage where President Trump will preside over one of the most unusual Fourth of July celebrations the capital has known.

The audience for Mr. Trump's speech will include thousands of troops assembled by the White House to create a made-for-television moment in which the nation's commander in chief is surrounded by the forces that he leads.

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Weather permitting, the traditional songs for each branch of the military will be played while their officers stand by the president's side and a procession of aircraft, including Air Force One and the Blue Angels, roars through the skies overhead. Hundreds of guests, many of them handpicked by the Republican National Committee, will watch from bleachers in a V.I.P. section erected close to the podium.

"It will be the show of a lifetime!" the president posted Wednesday morning on Twitter.

But Mr. Trump's decision to turn Washington's annual Fourth of July celebration into a kind of Trump-branded rally for America has drawn criticism from Democrats, top representatives of the city government and many military officials who believe the president is using the troops and their gear as political props.

"Put troops out there so we can thank them -- leave tanks for Red Square," said Gen. Anthony C. Zinni, a retired four-star Marine general and former head of United States Central Command, who until this year served in the Trumpadministration as a special envoy to help resolve disputes in the Persian Gulf.

Muriel Bowser, Washington's mayor, said displaying tanks and heavy equipment was "not the American way" of honoring the military.

The Fourth of July in Washington is usually celebrated without participation from the occupant of the Oval Office or any political overtones: with a parade down Constitution Avenue, a concert in front of the Capitol and fireworks over the National Mall, accompanied by the National Symphony Orchestra. Those separate events will continue as planned.

But this year, those traditions ran headfirst into Mr. Trump's desire to replicate the spectacle of grand military parades in other countries, a vision that he has pursued since 2017, when he watched thousands of soldiers marching down the Champs-Élysées alongside scores of tanks during a Bastille Day celebration in Paris.

The president, who declared the French event to be one of the "greatest parades I've ever seen," originally wanted a similar show of military might in Washington on Veterans Day, but it was derailed last August after objections by the city's officials, concerns from the Pentagon and a price tag of more than $90 million.

Instead, Mr. Trump has ordered the last-minute transformation of the traditional activities of Independence Day into what he calls "a celebration of America" and that critics call a celebration of Donald J. Trump.

The White House's plans -- including the over-the-top demonstration of the country's military prowess -- have put the Pentagon in a bind, forcing officials to snap to the orders from their commander in chief while also trying to sidestep the inevitable accusation that they are willingly joining Mr. Trump in politicizing the troops as well as a national holiday.

Loren DeJonge Schulman, a senior Defense Department official during the Obama administration, said Mr. Trump -- with the elaborately stage-managed display of military equipment -- has inaccurately implied that Pentagon leaders support the parade and its showmanship.

"They owe it to the American people to correct the record," said Ms. Schulman, now a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. "The parade is clearly about glorifying the president."

On Wednesday, the Pentagon announced that Acting Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, would join Mr. Trump at the festivities. Many other members of the Joint Chiefs and service secretaries, however, had planned leaves or were on official travel, and were sending deputies in their place.

Mr. Trump had mused about hosting a smaller military-themed parade on Independence Day. But Pentagon brass kept quiet and hoped the idea would go away, according to one Defense Department official, who spoke about the internal discussions on the condition of anonymity.

But in early June, the White House called, and with less than 30 days before July 4, Pentagon officials started drawing up a plan. Two Defense Department officials said the vision for a relatively small contribution from the military was greatly expanded over the past two weeks.

A third official said that the ceremony would cost the military well over $1 million and that many in the Pentagon saw it as a waste of resources and money at a time that the United States faced real threats around the world, like Iran and North Korea.

One million dollars is a tiny sliver of the Defense Department's annual budget of more than $700 billion, and it is unclear what the president's salute to the armed forces will cost American taxpayers.

But critics said that shifting even a small amount of money away from the Pentagon's primary mission to satisfy the president's whims was wrong. It has already forced the National Park Service to divert $2.5 million from other park uses, according to a person familiar with the decision. The Washington Post first reported the diversion of funds.

On Wednesday, the president tweeted that what the nation will experience would be worth the price.

"The cost of our great Salute to America tomorrow will be very little compared to what it is worth. We own the planes, we have the pilots, the airport is right next door (Andrews), all we need is the fuel," he said, referring to the Air Force base near Washington from where the flyover will be staged. "We own the tanks and all. Fireworks are donated by two of the greats. Nice!"

Throughout the day on Wednesday, Park Service employees and nearly three dozen Marines and Army soldiers raced to get ready for the presidential show. Some military units stationed in the capital region had difficulty getting enough troops to carry out the preparations on such short notice because many troops were already on leave for the holiday.

As workers built a staged draped in red, white and blue, audio technicians tested some of the musical playlist: the "Star Wars" theme, "Hail to the Chief," "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "God Bless the U.S.A."

Hundreds of yards of cyclone fencing fanned out from the Lincoln Memorial down the National Mall, including several lengths installed across the width of the Reflecting Pool by security guards splashing through knee-deep water.

Pentagon officials said Mr. Trump insisted on including the tanks and armored vehicles in the celebration, prompting a scramble among officials at Fort Stewart in Georgia to move the vehicles to Washington and position them around the memorial instead of parading them down streets and over bridges that would be damaged under the heavy load.

But the two 70-ton Abrams tanks trucked from Fort Stewart were still deemed too heavy to roll onto the delicate apron of the Lincoln Memorial and will remain confined to the asphalt road behind it. Mr. Trump will salute America in sight of the two more diminutive, 30-ton Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, painted in woodland camo, their treads festooned in navy blue drapes.

All of the preparations could be upended, though, if the weather in Washington refuses to cooperate. Forecasts for July 4 predicted the usual hot and steamy start to the day, followed by a more than 50 percent chance of thunderstorms, possibly including lightning. Such storms could cause the Pentagon to call off the flyovers that Mr. Trump wants so badly.

Perhaps anticipating such an outcome, administration officials began pointing fingers at one another and assigning blame in case of disappointing attendance or any other unforeseen complications. Among the major items that was not taken care of over a week ago was the printing of thousands of tickets, people familiar with the planning said.

The White House and the Interior Department each believed the other fell down on the job of the planning. The Defense Department, where several officials consider the military display to be unseemly, was prepared to blame all other departments, an administration official said.

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JohnRussell
1  seeder  JohnRussell    2 months ago

I think it is coming clear what this is going to be. It's going to be a television show. When you think of a "parade", you think of crowds of people , many deep sometimes, lining a street to cheer as parade units pass by, and something that would span a mile or two, or more. 

This event looks very much like a stationary "stage" where Trump will preside over visuals of planes and tanks and assembled military units , and the whole thing centers on his presence. The tv show milieu can provide the opportunity to emphasize Trump and the immediate spectacle in the relatively small grounds surrounding the Lincoln Memorial without having to worry about the potentially touchy issue of crowd size. 

As long as the camera is on Trump standing on stage next to generals and admirals whose uniforms are filled with ribbons and medals, and the tanks and armored fighting vehicles are just a few yards away, all will be right in Trumpworld. 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
2  seeder  JohnRussell    2 months ago

You know how NBC has a  made-for- tv  show every year when they light the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Plaza?  Same concept here. Trump is the tree, the military flourishes are the plaza, and the taxpayer is NBC. 

 
 
 
lady in black
3  lady in black    2 months ago

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JohnRussell
3.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  lady in black @3    2 months ago

The traditional Washington DC 4th of July musical and patriotic show and fireworks will be taking place tonight as it always has , about a mile from where Trump will be staging his new event. 

There is absolutely no reason for a new show on the National Mall other than to aggrandize Trump. It's really shameful. 

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
3.1.1  Thrawn 31  replied to  JohnRussell @3.1    2 months ago

And that is what it is all about, celebrating his waistline. 

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
3.1.2  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  JohnRussell @3.1    2 months ago

Talk about shameful.  He is diverting parks funds to pay for his parade.  

 
 
 
lady in black
4  lady in black    2 months ago

Disgraceful!!!!  No one I know will be watching the POS look at me bullshit.  Will be at Conesus Lake today and there is NO tv

 
 
 
JohnRussell
4.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  lady in black @4    2 months ago

I've been reading that his advisors are worried that the crowd size won't be enough to please Trump. I guess it will be mildly interesting to see how it plays out. 

Fox News Channel is going to show the event in its entirety, as are CBSN, which is a free streaming channel, and ABC News Live, which is also a free 24 hour streaming news channel. Supposedly CNN and MSNBC are not going to show it. 

PBS is showing the traditional 4th of July show that takes place in front of the Capitol building. 

 
 
 
lady in black
4.1.1  lady in black  replied to  JohnRussell @4.1    2 months ago

They will photo shop a hugeeeeeeeee crowd, bet on it.

 
 
 
XDm9mm
4.1.2  XDm9mm  replied to  JohnRussell @4.1    2 months ago
I've been reading that his advisors are worried that the crowd size won't be enough to please Trump.

Source please.  

Oh, and please don't use "Alternet" as your source.  I don't want to be insulted.

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
4.1.3  Thrawn 31  replied to  XDm9mm @4.1.2    2 months ago

You watch Fox, what is there to insult? 

 
 
 
XDm9mm
4.1.4  XDm9mm  replied to  Thrawn 31 @4.1.3    2 months ago
You watch Fox, what is there to insult? 

Those of us with the intelligence others wish they possessed.   The envy of some is palpable when they immediately denigrate as a response.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
4.1.5  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  XDm9mm @4.1.2    2 months ago

It's been mentioned a few times on tv and I think I saw it in the Washington Post. If I wanted to put a quote on it I would have put a quote on it. 

 
 
 
Texan1211
4.1.6  Texan1211  replied to  XDm9mm @4.1.2    2 months ago
Source please.

Maybe the authors of Dick and Jane came back to write a primer for Trump-hating malcontents?

Maybe a little birdie said something?

 
 
 
XDm9mm
4.1.7  XDm9mm  replied to  JohnRussell @4.1.5    2 months ago
If I wanted to put a quote on it I would have put a quote on it.

Who said anything about a quote?   I simply asked for a source.  Or is that too difficult?

On a personal note, when I post something as you did, I post a link to a source providing the info as evidence.  Just sayin.

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
4.1.8  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  XDm9mm @4.1.2    2 months ago

It won't matter is attendance is low.  Before his peeps are done, it will seem like millions attended.  They have done it before.

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
5  Thrawn 31    2 months ago

Does anyone else find it amusing that this prick is always trying to surround himself with people who are everything he is not? It is like he wants people to believe that he gives a shit about anything beyond his own personal advancement. 

 
 
 
Texan1211
5.1  Texan1211  replied to  Thrawn 31 @5    2 months ago

Does anyone find it amusing how many malcontents display their hatred for the U.S. President on a daily basis?

 
 
 
XDm9mm
5.1.1  XDm9mm  replied to  Texan1211 @5.1    2 months ago
Does anyone find it amusing how many malcontents display their hatred for the U.S. President on a daily basis?

I find it absolutely hysterical.  And I truly enjoy knowing Trump lives rent free in their conscience as an all consuming entity.   

 
 
 
Tacos!
6  Tacos!    2 months ago

This has become an obsession. Trump isn't the one making the focus on him. All his haters are doing that. If you don't want to the focus to be on Trump, then stop talking about him. Simple! Talk about the military. Talk about our country. That's what this is supposed to be about. The haters aren't even trying to do that. All they want to talk about is Trump. 

 
 
 
XDm9mm
6.1  XDm9mm  replied to  Tacos! @6    2 months ago
This has become an obsession. Trump isn't the one making the focus on him. All his haters are doing that.

Personally, I love it knowing that Trump lives in their heads 24x7 making their lives, individually and collectively a living hell.  What they're too ignorant to understand is that what they continually do is assuage his ego by giving him the attention they think he desires.

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
6.1.1  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  XDm9mm @6.1    2 months ago

I bet you had no problem with the continual attacks on President Obama and his family.  On a side note, I hope you didn't have major damage from the 6.4 earthquake (Searles Valley) this morning.

 
 
 
Raven Wing
6.1.2  Raven Wing  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @6.1.1    2 months ago

The 6.4 earthquake here in SoCal this morning was centered near Searles Valley, which is 10 miles northeast of Ridgecrest. 

I was in the midst of watching the 4th of July parade here in the complex when I felt the swaying of the quake. I live near Riverside CA, which is quite a ways from the area of the quake. It lasted for several seconds, the blinds were slowly swaying and I could feel the ground swaying. 

It is said to be the largest quake since the 1966 Northridge quake. It was 100 miles from Los Angeles, and approx 140 miles from where I live. It was approx 5 miles deep as well.

We have been having a lot of small quakes near where I live for the past couple of months, some within 6 miles from where I live, but, they were only 2. or 3. quakes, mostly just sudden jolts. 

When the Landers quake hit I was living in So. San Diego and we felt it quite readily. 

 
 
 
XDm9mm
6.1.3  XDm9mm  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @6.1.1    2 months ago
I bet you had no problem with the continual attacks on President Obama and his family.  

What went on towards Obama was childs play opposed to what is transpiring towards the Trumps.  Personally, I had no problem with the man but essentially hated his "policies".

On a side note, I hope you didn't have major damage from the 6.4 earthquake (Searles Valley) this morning.

Thanks for the good wishes, but living in Texas, I was far, far away from the earthquake, fortunately.  However, along those lines, best wishes to any and all affected by the quake and what will likely be a tumultuous coming days and or weeks.

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
6.1.4  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  Raven Wing @6.1.2    2 months ago

I felt three short jolts.  My city is built on bedrock which acts like a shock absorber so aftershocks here are low in intensity.  Do you know if Bodie Ghost Town near Ridgecrest had any major damage?

 
 
 
Ender
6.2  Ender  replied to  Tacos! @6    2 months ago

I am confused as to why celebrating the 4th of July is becoming a military thing.

It is supposed to be about Independence, not military might.

 
 
 
Tacos!
6.2.1  Tacos!  replied to  Ender @6.2    2 months ago
I am confused as to why celebrating the 4th of July is becoming a military thing. It is supposed to be about Independence, not military might.

I'm fine with that, but I think considering that military might was used to achieve and later, to secure that independence, it seems reasonable to celebrate that a little. Our national anthem is about a battle. Our favorite celebration technique - fireworks - simulates that battle. We watch the fireworks while listening to triumphant military marches. Why does this year's celebration cross some kind of line?

I would hope people are not ashamed of our military. There seems to be an actual urgency to avoid showing them on the 4th. Frankly, I think that's pretty strange.

 
 
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