Donald Trump’s plans to make Washington, D.C.’s Fourth of July celebration all about him are moving forward, though it’s hard to really call them plans. More of a spoiled child’s wish list that government officials are trying to figure out how to deal with. With just days to go, the National Park Service and the Pentagon are grappling with Trump's demand for tanks stationed around the Mall.
Trump has already demanded, and will get, a flyover by military aircraft and a Blue Angels show. Tanks have been on his wish list since he saw a Bastille Day parade, but the tank-filled 2018 Veterans’ Day parade he wanted didn’t happen amid concerns about cost and damage to District streets by the heavy vehicles, both relevant concerns this week as well. One reason everything is so confused three days ahead of the planned event is that Trump himself is micromanaging it to fit his ego, rather than designating a professional event planner to set the details.
This whole thing is so egregious on so many levels. As the head of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks told The Washington Post, “It’s irresponsible to ask the National Park Service to absorb the costs of an additional and political event when there are so many unmet needs in the parks.” You know, needs like dealing with wildfire damage and accommodating hundreds of millions of visitors.
Then there’s the wannabe military dictator flavor to it all, with Trump taking a longstanding D.C. celebration, adding huge amounts of military hardware, and making it all about himself. It’s grotesque, it’s irresponsible, and it’s more than a little scary.