The Pentagon is rolling out military hardware for a. Tanks on the National Mall and military flyovers will be part of the capital's celebration, by order of President Trump. He'll be the first president to take an active role in any July Fourth ceremony in recent memory.
These flyovers cost tens of thousands of dollars per hour, though military officials say they are essentially training flights and therefore not an extra cost to taxpayers. But the National Park Service is reportedly diverting nearly $2.5 million, originally intended for parks across the country, for the celebration.
"Certainly going to be more expensive than previous years. Anytime you get a presidential visit there are inherent security costs," said Mark Litterst of the National Park Service.
The National Park Service said on Tuesday it was still waiting for the run of show from the White House – proof this is a show, one stage-managed by the president down to the placement of tanks and infantry vehicles and the sequence of military flyovers, reports CBS News' Major Garrett. The Fourth of July is typically nonpartisan and a tribute to America's founding documents and self-government.
The event is being called is called a "Salute to America" but Mr. Trump has made it clear that the military will be front and center. "We have some incredible equipment, military equipment on display – brand new. And we're very proud of it," Mr. Trump said.
Tanks and infantry vehicles will be on static display near the Lincoln Memorial, trucked in to prevent their treads from damaging the streets. Fighter jets, Air Force One, Marine One, a B-2 bomber and the Blue Angels will fly over.
The White House is reportedly providing VIP tickets to Republican Party donors, raising concerns from some Democratic lawmakers that the nation's birthday is being politicized.
Asked if she can be sure the campaign won't use the event in any fundraising emails or campaign imagery, Trump campaign press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said, "I can assure you we will act within the legal limits of what we're allowed to do."
The president got the idea for an elaborate Washington military parade two years ago. "I was with you for Bastille Day and I have to say it was one of the greatest parades that I have ever seen," Mr. Trump told French President Emmanuel Macron back in 2017.
The Federal Aviation Administration will temporarily shut down flights in and out of Reagan National Airport from 6:15 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. and again from 9 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. Thursday for the military flyovers and fireworks.
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