As final preparations are made for Donald Trump’s elaborate ‘Salute to America’ July Fourth celebration in Washington, not everyone is as excited as the president himself.
Several celebrities including Mark Hamill, Bette Midler and Bill Maher have voiced their disapproval of the event on Twitter after Trump advertised it as ‘the show of a lifetime’ – complete with tanks, an Air Force One Flyover and a grand fireworks show over the National Mall.
‘We’re going to have a great Reelect ME Campaign Rally on the taxpayers dime w/ fireworks provided for ME by big donors-all disguised as a ‘Salute to America’ (& by America-I mean ME),’ Hamill tweeted Tuesday.
‘I told you Kim Jon-un & ME fell in love & if this doesn’t impress him-nothing will!’ the Star Wars actor added, referencing the North Korean leader Trump has bonded with in the past.
Midler translated her disgust into a poem, tweeting: ‘He’s demanding big tanks on the mall, For his Fourth of July Big Ass Ball, He wants soldiers, firecrackers, Flyovers and Fox yakkers, And your taxes to pay for it all!!’
Several celebrities including Mark Hamill (left) and Bette Midler (right) have voiced their disapproval of President Trump’s elaborate ‘Salute to America’ July Fourth celebration
Trump advertised Thursday’s celebration as ‘the show of a lifetime’ – complete with tanks, an Air Force One Flyover and a grand fireworks show over the National Mall
Maher went so far as to brand Trump a dictator for his insistence on having tanks at the parade. The comedian tweeted: ‘Tanks in the streets now? Shall we review the Dictator Checklist? You’re a narcissist who likes to put his name on buildings…you appoint family members to key govt positions..your rallies are scary…you threaten to lock up political opponents..your friends are other dictators.’
Actor Bradley Whitford tweeted: ‘Tanks in the streets are the dead canaries of a septic democracy.’
Filmmaker Judd Apatow simply said: ‘Not going to this parade is an important statement.’
Roseanna Arquette praised MSNBC for deciding not to air coverage of the event, writing: ‘Gratitude to MSNBC for not airing the dictators tiny .D..k parade on the 4th.’
The famous faces mentioned above are hardly the first to raise concerns about the cost of the extravaganza.
Trump responded to cost-conscious critics on Wednesday, saying the price will ‘be very little compared to what it is worth’.
In addition to the questions of cost raining on Trump’s holiday parade, his celebration faces the literal threat of rain – massive thunderstorms are in the forecast and could result in the festivities being canceled.
The heat and humidity in Washington D.C. may trigger afternoon and evening storms on the Fourth, which would disrupt the flyovers and the fireworks.
Scattered storms are most likely to take place between 2 p.m. and 10 p.m., the
Lightening and thunder would put an end to Trump’s plan to address the nation from the Lincoln Memorial, showcase American military might on the National Mall, and have the military aircraft fly by.
But the president is plowing ahead – and first lady Melania Trump will there by his side the White House confirmed to DailyMail.com, arguing since the military already owns the tanks and planes, his ‘Salute to America’ will actually cost very little.
‘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. We own the tanks and all. Fireworks are donated by two of the greats. Nice!,’ he wrote on Twitter.
Service members moved the Bradley Fighting Vehicles into place around the Lincoln Memorial on Wednesday afternoon but the two Abrams tanks Trump wanted will arrive over night and be situated on the south side of the reflecting pool, according to sources involved in the planning.
President Trump wants a heavy military presence to show America’s might.
But the service chiefs for the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marine Corps won’t be there for Trump’s big show, the Pentagon announced on Wednesday.
Joint Chiefs Chairman General Joseph Dunford, acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper and other senior military leaders are expected to attend.
Navy Secretary Richard Spencer, acting Air Force Secretary Matthew Donovan and acting Army Undersecretary James McPherson will be there but acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy will not be present, the Pentagon said on Wednesday.
Also absent will be Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley – whom Trump has picked to succeed Dunford – and his Navy, Air Force and Marine counterparts.
The only service chief in attendance will be Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Karl Schultz. Instead of their top officers, the Navy, Air Force, Army and Marine Corps are sending a group of their next tier of leaders.
And that reflects an on-going fear among Republicans that attendance in general will be low, prompting talk of Trump’s Inauguration 2.0, where the White House insisted on record crowd size when side-by-side comparisons to Barack Obama’s inauguration photos clearly showed there was not.
‘They started this too late and everyone has plans already,’ said Dan Eberhart, a Republican donor told
Despite the party’s attempt to woo high-profile donors to the event, most seem to be at the beach.
‘It’s not a very tough ticket to get,’ a Republican close to the White House told Politico. ‘They’re not going to give it away to anyone off the street, but if you have any juice at all, you can probably get the tickets.’
A Bradley Fighting Vehicle is moved onto the National Mall Wednesday
A large Bradley Fighting Vehicle sits in front of the Lincoln Memorial for Thursday’s Fourth of July celebrations
The military vehicles will be on display during President Trump’s speech Thursday evening
Members of the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, 1st Battalion, 64th Armored Regiment based at Fort Stewart, Georgia brought tanks to Washington D.C.
Military service men atop a fighting vehicle near the Lincoln Memorial for Fourth of July celebrations
The Army soldiers prepare their vehicle for display
President Trump is defending the cost of his Fourth of July plans, which includes tanks on display by the Lincoln Memorial
The Bradley Fighting vehicles were moved in front of the Lincoln Memorial Wednesday afternoon
Service members practice with bayonets before their July Fourth performance
Military drill teams like the one above will perform on Thursday
A military band rehearses for the Fourth of July festivities
The US Army Fife and Bugle Core – ‘The President’s Own’ – practices for the Fourth
Military bands will play a large role in Trump’s ‘Salute to America’
A stage is being built in front of the Lincoln Memorial for Trump to address the nation
Trump personally requested tanks be used for the Fourth
A Code Pink protester – with a ‘Baby Trump’ balloon – stands in front of one of the military vehicles on the National Mall
Barriers to help with crowd control go up in front of the Lincoln Memorial
Workers put the presidential podium in place for Thursday night
Protective glass is put in place around the podium where Trump will speak
While two firework companies have donated the $750,000 show, the president’s figures likely didn’t take into account the man hours need to run the aircraft – there are estimates it could take up to five or six figures per hour to fly the planes he wants in his flyover.
It costs about $205,000 an hour to fly the Boeing 747 that goes by the call sign Air Force One when Trump is on board, University of Denver professor Andrew Sherbo, who tracks such figures, told
The cost per hour for flying the F-35 can be $20,000 or more, according to Defense Department comptroller.
And The Blue Angels – the U.S. Navy’s demonstration squad – could cost $6,000 for the day, said Sherbo, a former Pentagon official.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow shrugged off criticisms of the cost.
‘I don’t get it. It’s a celebration of our country, our freedom, our leadership, our greatness. If it costs a few bucks, so be it,’ he told reporters at the White House on Wednesday.
And he said of the president’s speech Thursday night: ‘He’s going to extoll America and July Fourth and life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, with all of our grandeur.’
In addition to the lead up to the Fourth, there could be unanticipated costs after the celebration is over.
Kevin Donahue, Washington D.C.’s deputy mayor for public safety, told the Associated Press the city will send the White House the bill for any damage to D.C. roads and grounds by the heavy military vehicles.
Donahue argued city had little choice but to accept the tanks and other heavy equipment after Trump’s demands. He said civil engineers will be inspecting roads for damage when the festivities were over.
Two 60-ton Abrams tanks from Fort Stewart, Georgia, were brought to the nation’s capitol by train.
Bradley Fighting Vehicles had to be moved to the Lincoln Memorial on flatbed trucks after fears their heavy treads could damage roadways.
They were driven through D.C. streets Tuesday night – social media users posted videos of the military motorcade and its police escort driving by Nationals Stadium in downtown Washington.
And Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser told
‘I don’t think we get anything out of it. We always are happy to welcome visitors to go to our restaurants and our hotels,’ she said, adding: ‘I have some concerns. And I also have some concerns about a president not celebrating the military but glorifying military might. That scares me the most.’
A ‘Trump Baby’ balloon floats by during a news conference with anti-war group Code Pink on the National Mall
The anti-war group Code Pink is protesting Trump’s ‘Salute to America’
Workers assemble glass for President Trump’s lectern when he gives his address at the Lincoln Memorial
Final preparations are being readied on the National Mall for the Fourth
Mounted US Park Police pass the the armored Bradley Fighting Vehicle
An M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle sits next to the Lincoln Memorial
A National Park Service employee checks out the preparations on the National Mall for the Fourth
Throughout this week, workers are building a stage in front of the Lincoln Memorial for Trump to address the nation. Lights, a sound system, and giant TV screens are being put in place for Thursday’s event.
Barriers to help with crowd control dot the National Mall, as do hundreds of port-a-potties.
But the protests have also begun.
The anti-war group Code Pink was at the Lincoln Memorial on Wednesday with small ‘Baby Trump’ blimp balloons to protest the event.
Additionally, the group plans to bring its large Trump Blimp Balloon and a 16-foot tall mechanical robot Trump who sits on a golden toilet.
The president’s argument is that the spectacle with be worth it.
‘Our July 4th Salute to America at the Lincoln Memorial is looking to be really big. It will be the show of a lifetime!,’ Trump tweeted on Wednesday morning.
And the president kept up the patriotic cheer in a subsequent tweet, proclaiming the U.S. has the greatest economy and military in the world.
‘We have the greatest economy anywhere in the world. We have the greatest military anywhere in the world. Not bad!,’ he wrote.
The president went on the defense after it was revealed the National Park Service diverted $2.5 million in funds to help pay for his event – money that is typically used to improve America’s national parks.
The National Park Service funds will come from entrance and recreation fees,
Democratic Congresswoman Betty McCollum, the Chair of the Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees the National Park Service, vowed to investigate.
‘It is unbelievable that Congress – specifically the Appropriations Committee – was not informed of this use of taxpayer dollars before it was reported publicly,’ she said in a statement Wednesday.
‘Mr. Trump’s event is on federal grounds. The National Mall belongs to all of us. I’m prepared to use my full oversight authority as Chair of the Interior-Environment Appropriations Committee to determine how this decision was made and hold the responsible parties accountable. This administration needs to be reminded that the power of the purse belongs to Congress.’
But the funds transferred by the Park Service represent a fraction of what the president’s ‘Salute to America’ celebration will cost tax payers with money needed for security, staff to execute and clean up the event, plus all the preparations taking place on the National Mall in the lead up to the Fourth.
The military expects the celebration – which will feature flyovers by the plane known as Air Force One when the president is on board, the Blue Angels and other military aircraft in addition to the tanks on display and military personnel performing – to cost around $1 million,
It suggests positive statements about America and their pride as a member of the Armed Services. It makes no mention of President Trump.
Service members stand near a Bradley Fighting Vehicle on the National Mall Wednesday morning
The vehicles were brought in Washington D.C. on flatbed trucks Tuesday night
D.C. officials have expressed concerned about the kind of damage heavy military vehicles will do to the streets
President Trump wanted tanks to be a part of his celebration
The vehicles were transported on flatbed trucks after fears their treads could damage D.C. roads
An American Flag hangs in front of the Lincoln Memorial during preparations for Fourth of July festivities
Several ceremonial military units such as the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, the US Army Band and the US Marine Corps Silent Drill Team will be on hand.
WHAT THE NETWORKS ARE AIRING DURING TRUMP’S ‘SALUTE TO AMERICA’
ABC: World News Tonight with David Muir, Jeopardy!
CBS: CBS Evening News, Inside Edition
CNN: The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer
C-SPAN: Live coverage of ‘Salute to America’
FOX: Special Report with Bret Baier covering Trump’s ‘Salute to America’
MSNBC: The Beat with Ari Melber, Hardball with Chris Matthews
NBC: NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt and Extra
Also taking part in the show will be an F-35 jet from the Navy, aircraft from Marine Helicopter Squadron One, a B-2 stealth bomber, and F-22 Raptor fighter jets.
Additionally about 900 members of Washington D.C.’s National Guard have been called up to help with crowd control and security, CNN reported, which is nearly triple the number usually needed for the holiday festivities.
Typically, the entire Fourth of July celebration on the National Mall costs about $2 million, former Park Service deputy director Denis Galvin told the Post.
No final cost for this year’s celebration has been estimated.
Still in question is how the rest of the country will be able to view the president’s celebration.
TV networks are snubbing the celebration, saying they won’t show the event instead of Jeopardy! and their nightly newscasts, DailyMail.com confirmed.
ABC, CBS and NBC will not cover the spectacle in full on their evening programs but will air the president’s celebration on their respective online and app streaming platforms.
MSNBC also won’t cover the event live but might show clips during its newscast.
Fox News, however, will have a two-hour special on the event and C-SPAN will air it live starting at 6.15pm.
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Rolling out the red carpet: A worker prepares a stage at the Lincoln Memorial for the big day on July 4th
Tourists walk on the stairs of the Lincoln Memorial Tuesday behind seating for July 4th events, in Washington, D.C
The Capitol and Washington Monument are seen behind a lighting rigger as she climbs a tower to adjust a light at the Lincoln Memorial Tuesday
A security guard stands watch at the base of the Lincoln Memorial Tuesday as D.C. prepares for July 4th events
Cleanup time: Worker power wash a M1 Abrams tank at a Washington D.C. rail yard before it is deployed near the Mall for Trump’s Salute to America
The tanks were brought to Washington D.C. from Fort Stewart, Georgia
TRUMP’S ‘AIR FORCE ONE’: INSIDE THE MILITARY-GRADE BOEING 747-200 THAT HAS AN ONBOARD HOSPITAL
Commissioned by Ronald Reagan, the Boeing 747-200s entered service in 1990 and have carried presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
They will fly the winner of the 2020 election.
Any U.S. Air Force aircraft that is transporting the president has the call sign Air Force One when the president is on board, but the presidents’ most normal transport since 1990 has been the 747-200s, known as VC-25s to the Air Force.
The two VC-25s will be replaced by 2024 with converted Boeing 747-800s which are larger and can fly longer distances.
But Trump has made the next generation of Air Force One controversial by abandoning the livery first used by John F. Kennedy and associated with his wife Jackie, in favor of a red white and blue design which critics said made it look like his ‘Trump Force One.’
Top Speed: 0.85 Mach – 644.5mph
Range: 6,375 nautical miles – equivalent of Washington D.C. to Tokyo – but uniquely for a 747, can also be refueled in flight
Wingspan: 95ft 8in
Length: 31ft 10in
Maximum load at take-off: 833,000lbs – 427.5 tons
What’s onboard: In-flight refueling; self-contained baggage loader; two galleys providing 100 meals in one sitting; capacity for 3,000 frozen meals held in five chillers; conference / executive dining room; self-contained office for president; sitting area which converts into bedroom for president and first lady; on-board hospital; offices for staff; crew rest area; business-class style cabin for reporters.
The Federal Aviation Administration announced that flights would be grounded from National, which is close to the center of D.C., during the flypast, from 6.15pm to 7.15pm, and for the fireworks, from 9pm to 9.45pm.
It will be the first time the airport has ever been closed for the annual July 4 fireworks, whose launch site was moved closer to the airport to accommodate Trump’s speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
Instead of being launched from its traditional location alongside the Lincoln Memorial’s reflecting pool, the fireworks will be launched from a barge in the Potomac.
The airport has closed before for flypasts, including a commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe in May 2015.
Trump has taken a special interest in the event and overseeing many of its preparations. He’s even added extra touches.
The fireworks display will be twice as long as those in the past and include new elements – such as a massive American flag and the words ‘U.S.A.’ spelled out in the sky.
It will run from 9.07pm to 9.42pm.
The president also claimed Tuesday the Pentagon is ‘thrilled’ with his plan to include tanks as part of his celebration amid reports military leaders were reluctant to have them as a part of the festivities.
‘Big 4th of July in D.C. ‘Salute to America.’ The Pentagon & our great Military Leaders are thrilled to be doing this & showing to the American people, among other things, the strongest and most advanced Military anywhere in the World. Incredible Flyovers & biggest ever Fireworks!,’ the president wrote on Twitter.
Lillian Homyn, 8, from Warmaster, Pa. shows off her dance moves at the Lincoln Memorial Tuesday, as D.C. prepares for July 4th events
The Lincoln Memorial is seen above Tuesday as tourists swarm it as D.C. prepares for July 4th events
Military tanks get a good wash on Tuesday ahead of Thursday’s ‘Salute to America’
Preparations for the Fourth have been taking place all week in Washington D.C.
A fire extinguisher sits near a row of loaded firework launchers at West Potomac Park
Two M1A1 Abrams tanks and other military vehicles sit on guarded rail cars at a rail yard in Southwest Washington D.C.
City workers hangs US and District of Colombia flags on light poles along Constitution Avenue
His defense of upcoming showcase of American power comes amid reports the Pentagon was reluctant to display military vehicles and weapons in the nation’s capital the way leaders of
Fourth of July Events
National Independence Day Parade
11:45 a.m. – 2 p.m., Constitution Avenue NW from 7th Street NW to 17th Street NW
Marching bands, fife and drum corps, floats, military units, giant balloons, equestrian, drill teams and more celebrate Independence Day in this patriotic, flag-waving, red, white and blue celebration of America’s birthday!
Salute to America
6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., Lincoln Memorial
President Donald J. Trump honors America’s armed forces with music, military demonstrations, flyovers and much more. Participants include the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, the U.S. Army Band (‘Pershing’s Own’), the Armed Forces Chorus, the United States Marine Corps Silent Drill Team, and many others. Gates open at 3:30 p.m.
Capitol Concert – A Capitol Fourth
8 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol
This all-star salute to America’s 243rd birthday with performances by Grammy Award-winning music legend Carole King, multi-platinum recording artist Vanessa Williams, Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Colbie Caillat, the National Symphony Orchestra, and a special appearance by the Sesame Street Muppets!
9:07 p.m., National Mall & Neighboring Parks
Independence Day culminates with a spectacular fireworks display launched from West Potomac Park and behind the Lincoln Memorial which will be visible from many locations throughout D.C. and Northern Virginia. The fireworks will be cancelled in case of heavy rain, thunderstorms or high winds.
– courtesy the National Park Service
Military leaders argue the U.S. does not need to demonstrate its military strength.
Retired Army Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling told
‘A lot of countries have histories of longtime military conquest and the power and strength of the military supporting the government, but since our inception that has not been who we are,’ he said. ‘We’re the only nation in the world that defends a piece of paper. An ideology. And to say we’re going to strut our stuff with tanks and rocket launchers and things like that, is just not a good representation of what the military does in a democratic nation.’
The final cost of the president’s ‘Salute to America’ to tax payers is unclear and critics charge him with throwing a campaign-style rally – aided by Trump’s planned speech before the Lincoln Memorial – on America’s birthday.
White House officials deny that is the case – even though the Republican Party is handing out tickets to a special VIP section to hear the president’s remarks.
‘That’s absolutely ridiculous,’ Deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley said Tuesday morning on Fox Business Network. ‘This is all about a salute to America. The president is not going to get political. He’s going to celebrate the greatest country, the greatest idea in the history of the world, and that is the United States of America.’
The Republican National Committee will offer major donors tickets to the VIP section to hear the president’s address, the
‘He’s going to have tanks out there. It’s going to be cool,’ one fundraiser told the publication.
An official with the Republican National Committee argued the Democratic National Committee had received passes to White House events when a Democrat was in the Oval Office.
‘It’s standard practice for the RNC to receive a small number of tickets to events just as the DNC did under Democrat Presidents,’ the official told
Tim Murtaugh, communications director for Trump’s 2020 campaign, said his staff also received passes to attend the president’s Lincoln Memorial address.
‘As a courtesy, the campaign was provided tickets for staff and their families and friends, much like for the Easter Egg Roll or White House garden tours,’ Murtaugh told the Post.
Workers prepare a lighting and sound tower at the Lincoln Memorial
Lighting technicians drain rain water from plastic covering stage lights at the Lincoln Memorial
Speakers and a jumbo monitor have been set up for Trump’s speech
A fire extinguisher sits near a row of loaded firework launchers at West Potomac Park ahead of Thursday’s July 4th Salute to America celebration
Portable toilets are set up along the National Mall for the Fourth of July festivities
Workers prepare the stage before the Lincoln Memorial as security man the area ahead of the big day
White House staffers Hogan Gidley (left) and Kellyanne Conway (right) defended the president’s Fourth of July plans saying they are not political
Workers install security barriers at the Lincoln Memorial
Ready for the parade: The military have shipped two Bradley fighting vehicles (left), an M88A2 Hercules recovery vehicle in case they break down (center) and a support Humvee, and two M1 Abrams tanks from Fort Stewart in Georgia
Ready for problems: The four combat vehicles are backed up by the Hercules recovery vehicle and a Humvee with more support equipment
At least two M1 Abrams tanks and two Bradley Fighting Vehicles on flatcars guarded by military police are seen at a railyard at the southeastern edge of Washington on Monday
Arrival: The convoy of military vehicles on flatcars was seen in Washington on Monday
President Donald Trump’s ‘Salute to America’ celebration on July 4 is coming together as a stage was erected in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, on Monday (pictured)
The president has promised to go all out for Independence Day this year by sending tanks down the National Mall and having Air Force One do a flyover before the fireworks begin
BRADLEY FIGHTING VEHICLES THAT DESTROYED MORE IRAQI TANKS THAN ITS M1 ABRAMS SUCCESSOR
The Bradley Fighting Vehicle’s two designs – the M2 Infantry Fighting Vehicle and the M3 Cavalry Fighting Vehicle – were both used in the Persian Gulf and Iraq Wars, with about 2,200 deployed during Operation Desert Storm.
Introduced in 1981 during the Reagan administration, the Bradleys were criticized for being too heavy, but about 6,000 were produced and they proved themselves highly capable in cross-country open terrain by transporting troops to critical battlefield points, providing fire coverage, and delivering offensive attacks at enemy armored vehicles.
Each Bradley vehicle is designed with its potential deployment in mind, with some armored in camouflage for temperate climates like Eastern Europe and others painted light sand for battles in the desert.
The Bradleys proved to be vulnerable, however, to improvised explosive devices and grenade attacks, with a total loss of 150 vehicles by the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The vehicles, stationed at Fort Stewart, Georgia, are expected to be phased out in the coming years.
The Bradleys, operated by a crew of three (a commander, gunner and driver) are named after U.S. General Omar Bradley who served as the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and oversaw the U.S. military’s policy-making in the Korean War during the Eisenhower administration.
He held the longest active duty career in history, serving continuously from August 1, 1911 until his death on April 8, 1981 – a total of 69 years, 8 months and 7 days.
Crew: 3 crew, 6-man infantry squad
Top speed: 41mph
Weight: About 30 tons
Weapons: 25mm chain gun that fires 200 rounds a minute, a machine gun, anti-tank missile launcher and 7.62mm machine guns
How many: 6,724
Gidley also promised several surprises in store for the day.
‘We’re going to have a lot of surprises. The president didn’t get into all of them. In fact, private donations are coming in. The fireworks display is going to be five times that of normal years. So this is going to be the biggest and best celebration of the biggest and best country in history and we’re excited to be a part of it,’ he said.
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said it is a public event.
‘This is a public event it’s open to the public. The public is welcome to come and celebrate our great country the greatest democracy,’ she told reporters at the White House Tuesday morning.
Trump’s ‘Salute to the Fourth’ is open to the public and free of charge.
Last year, Trump and his wife, first lady Melania Trump, hosted service members and their families at a picnic on the White House lawn and the president addressed guests from the balcony.
This year will be different, the president said earlier this week.
‘We’re gonna have a great Fourth of July in Washington, DC,’ Trump told reporters in the Oval Office on Monday. ‘It’ll be like no other.
‘It’ll be special and I hope a lot of people come. And it’s going to be about this country and it’s a salute to America.
The president has wanted a military-style parade with tanks since he saw the French version on their Bastille Day celebration during his 2017 visit to France.
Tourists trying to visit the Lincoln Memorial navigate workers setting up for the ‘Salute to America’
The Capitol Dome and Washington Monument are visible in the background as workers prepare for the Fourth of July celebration
‘We’re gonna have a great Fourth of July in Washington, DC,’ Trump told reporters in the Oval Office on Monday. ‘It’ll be like no other. It’ll be special and I hope a lot of people come’
Trump is essentially producing the holiday show himself, holding extensive briefings and weighing in on all aspects – from where the fireworks are launched to how military are honored
Workers build a stage and bleachers for the ‘Salute to America’ Fourth of July event on Monday
Protesters will be out on the Fourth of July as Code Pink has a permit to bring the Baby Trump blimp (pictured in Orlando in June)
Trump is essentially producing the holiday show himself, having extensive briefings on the subject and weighing in on all aspects – from where the fireworks should be launched to how the military will be honored.
In addition to the festivities, protests will also take place.
The Baby Trump Blimp will be on the National Mall.
Code Pink announced it has obtained the necessary permits from the National Park Service to fly the Baby Trump blimp in DC on July 4.
But the balloon will be unable to actually fly over the Mall, as helium balloon are barred from the area at all times.
Code Pink held a press conference Tuesday to protest the National Park Service’s refusal to let them fly the balloon a few feet off the ground.
Trump first got the idea for a military-style parade when he attended the Bastille Day festivities in Paris in 2017.
Originally he wanted a Veterans’ Day parade but that idea was nixed after concerns about its cost and the damage the military vehicles would do to the streets of Washington D.C.
In addition to the president’s plans, there’s also an annual concert on the West Lawn of the Capitol, broadcast live by PBS.
Actor John Stamos will host that event which will feature singer Carole King and characters from Sesame Street Street, including Big Bird and Burt and Ernie.
‘Salute to America’ is free and open to the public and free of charge, but a ticket-only area in front of the memorial is being set aside for VIPs, including members of Trump’s family
Workers hang patriotic bunting as they build a stage and bleachers for Thursday’s event
The Blue Angels – the US Navy’s demonstration squad – will fly over the National Mall
The plane known as Air Force One when the president is on board will also make a fly over
Trump originally got the idea for tanks when he and the first lady observed a Bastille Day military parade in France in 2017 (pictured)
Fireworks are seen around the Washington Monument during last year’s celebration
B-2 SPIRIT: MOST EXPENSIVE AIRCRAFT EVER, BUILT TO DROP ARMAGEDDON ON THE SOVIETS
The B-2 Spirit is the U.S. Air Force’s deadliest and most expensive plane – a Cold Warrior’s invention which has since been used to bomb the Taliban and ISIS.
Each of the 20 operational B-2s is valued at $2.1 billion, and putting one in the air costs an estimated $135,000 an hour, and cannot function in the rain.
On board its flight crew of two can stay in the air for 33 hours, at the controls of a plane designed to sneak into Soviet territory unseen to drop nuclear bombs, then return to the U.S. in a single flight.
The B-2s were first designed under the Carter administration, came close to being canceled, and finally took flight for the first time in 1989, just as the Soviet Union they were supposed to fight was collapsing, entering Air Force service in 1997.
They have been used to fight in Kosovo, where they bombed Serbian forces as NATO moved in to counter ethnic cleansing of the Muslim Albanian minority, and in the war on terror, taking out Taliban targets in Afghanistan and most recently ISIS positions in Syria.
All are currently based at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, meaning that the one designated to fly over the Mall is flying 1,042miles to D.C. for the spectacle.
If it flies low enough it will be visible from the ground, but it is almost invisible on radar, with its stealth design making it look like a pigeon on radar screens.
Top speed: 628mph
Range: 6,000 nautical miles, and refuels approximately every six hours
Weapons: B61 and B83 nuclear bombs, MK84 conventional bomb, MK82 and CBU-87 conventional weapons and AGM-129 advanced cruise missile
How many: 20 operational
Costs: $135,000 an hour to operate, making it roughly twice as expensive to operate as the B-52 or B-1
F-22 RAPTORS: STEALTH FIGHTERS WHICH ARE FIRST DEFENSE AGAINST PUTIN’S BOMBERS
The F-22 Raptor was first ordered at the height of the Cold War and now finds itself back on anti-Russian duties.
The stealth fighters have in recent weeks escorted Russian bombers probing U.S. airspace in Alaska, a sight which the fall of the Berlin Wall should have ended.
Two squadrons of the supersonic planes are based in Alaska, on hair-trigger alert for Russian incursions, and others are currently deployed in Qatar, putting them within 100 miles of targets in Iran.
The Air Force arm of U.S. Central Command said the Raptors arrived at al-Udeid air base to ‘defend American forces and interests.’
F -22s, which carry air-to-air missiles and can perform ground-attack missions as well, had previously deployed to al-Dhafra air base in the United Arab Emirates, where they were used last year in support of U.S. and partner forces in Syria.
The F-22 is a single seat fighter which is also capable of ground attacks. Its first use for ground strikes was in 2014 against ISIS in Syria, and it has also been used in Afghanistan in attacks on opium production and storage facilities in Taliban controlled-territory.
Air crew: 1
Top speed: 1,498mph
Weapons: M61A2 Vulcan cannon holding 480 rounds of 20mm ammunition and AIM-120C missiles
How many: 187 operational