President Donald Trump has “effectively taken charge” of planning this year’s Fourth of July celebration in Washington and may make an address from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial as part of the events, The Washington Post reported Friday.
Trump is also pushing for the fireworks celebration to be moved from its traditional place on the National Mall to nearby West Potomac Park, the Post reported, citing unnamed administration officials.
For more than 50 years, the National Park Service oversaw the Independence Day events on the National Mall, which included a free concert in front of the U.S. Capitol and a parade. Trump’s Independence Day celebration is to be called “A Salute to America” and could feature a second stage in addition to the one at the Capitol, according to the Post.
A presidential address has not traditionally been a part of the event’s activities.
The paper said the president has been given daily briefings on the event “and has gotten involved in the minutiae of the planning” with an interest “he often does not exhibit for other administration priorities,” according to administration aides.
“HOLD THE DATE!” the president tweeted in February, promising “one of the biggest gatherings in the history of Washington” and “an address by your favorite President, me!”
The Post said Trump has put responsibility for the event in the hands of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, who said, “the president is excited about the idea and we’re working hard on it.”
Bernhardt told the Post that they were planning to move the launch site for the fireworks from the traditional spot by the Reflecting Pool to create “a significant expansion of space that’s available to watch the fireworks from the Mall.” And he told the paper there could be “some more surprises in store for the public, very very soon.”
“The president loves the idea, as probably all Americans do, of celebrating America on the Fourth of July, or thereabouts,” he told the Post.
Trump had previously expressed enthusiasm for a military parade on the Fourth of July, featuring tanks and jet fighters in the nation’s capital after enjoying the display put on by the French during his 2017 visit to Paris on Bastille Day.
After witnessing that parade, Trump said he was considering “a really great parade” down Pennsylvania Avenue ” to show our military strength.”
That plan then evolved into a Military Veterans Day Parade but rising cost estimates for the event led to its indefinite postponement. In August, Trump said he “canceled it” because local politicians were asking for too much money. Mayor Muriel Bowser disputed that claim.
During a Cabinet meeting in February, Trump said he was considering a July 4 parade at the Lincoln Memorial, which could become a tradition.”
“It could be an exciting day,” Trump said.
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