President Trump will deliver an address to the nation on live television from the annual Independence Day celebration at Lincoln Memorial on July 4th.
Trump has been considering the idea of speaking at the annual celebration, which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, and decided to follow through with it this year and reintroduce it as “A Salute to America,” The Washington Post reported.
“We continue to work with the White House on creating a Salute to America program that will bring Americans from all over the country together in [a] celebration of our great nation,” White House spokesman Mike Litterst told The Washington Post.
Trump to speak at Lincoln Memorial during Fourth of July celebration https://t.co/l24TdePiuH
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) June 5, 2019
U.S. Park Police spokesman Sgt. Eduardo Delgado said it has been confirmed that Trump will speak at the memorial and they are in the process of creating a security plan for the event, given the heightened security concerns. The Park Police plans to work together with the White House and Secret Service based on the timing and duration of the President’s appearance.
“It’s still kind of an evolving event,” Delgado said.
There will be some upgraded changes made to the event, which new Interior Secretary David Bernhardt plans to make a priority. One such change would be to relocate the fireworks display to West Potomac Park. Another change could possibly be adding a second stage for additional entertainment aside from the free West Lawn concert.
D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser said she heard that the President will speak during the event, and she hoped his speech would not contain “divisive rhetoric” if he follows through with the appearance.
“The president can speak at any event that he wants to speak at. And my great hope would be that he recognizes that the event is a unifying event that celebrates the birthday of our nation,” she added.
Bowser previously raised security concerns over Trump’s visit to the event.
Presidents rarely appear in Washington, D.C due to security purposes and certainly not for a Fourth of July celebration.
In the past, President Ronald Reagan participated in a “Star Spangled Salute to America” at the Jefferson Memorial on July 3, 1987. President Harry Truman gave a speech from the Washington Monument on July 4, 1951 to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Former assistant D.C. police chief and former chief of the U.S. Capitol Police Kim Dine stated that in the past the event has been successful, and she fears that Trump’s changes will only serve to muddle the celebration.
Dine said, “Managing large crowds is doable, but difficult. And when you have the added challenge of VIP presence, or POTUS presence, and the massive amount of security that attends to him, that adds significantly to the whole equation.”