The Pentagon has approved President Donald Trump’s request for a display of tanks in conjunction with his “Salute to America” celebration on the National Mall here on the Fourth of July, the president said Monday.
Trump confirmed that the tanks will be parked near the National Mall for the July 4 celebration, the president said during remarks in the Oval Office.
“We’re gonna have some tanks stationed outside,” Trump said. “You know we’re making a lot of new tanks right now.”
The tanks would be stationary, in a “static display,” according to the aide who was not authorized to speak publicly about the plans. It is unclear how many tanks, what type or where they would come from. However, the Army has tanks at Ft. Stewart, Ga.
The Pentagon approved the display, the aide said. The Army declined to comment, referring questions to the Defense Secretary’s office and the White House. White House aides, the Defense Department and the Army declined to comment.
A preliminary estimate of the cost for transporting and displaying the tanks is about $870,000, the aide said.
A statement from the National Park Service, which oversees the National Mall, said officials there are “working with the White House to execute the president’s vision for Salute to America, a celebration of America’s armed forces that will feature music, military demonstrations, flyovers and remarks from the president.”
Trump had sought to stage a military parade last November in Washington. The White House had estimated that it would cost as much as $30 million, but it was ultimately called off. Then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had told planners that tanks should not be allowed on Washington streets because they could damage pavement.
On the Fourth, Trump is scheduled to deliver a speech from the Lincoln Memorial as part of a daylong series of events that includes a military-themed parade near the National Mall and flyovers featuring planes used for Air Force One, officials said.
Michael O’Hanlon, a military analyst at the Brookings Institution, said the use of military hardware on the Fourth isn’t cause for alarm.
“I try to distinguish between the egregious and simply the mildly distasteful — and also those times when he may actually have a good idea,” O’Hanlon said. “I’m not sure exactly where I’d place the July 4th idea on that spectrum, but it’s not on the egregious end in my book.”
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