Democrats on Capitol Hill are fuming over President Trump’s plan to deliver a speech at the Lincoln Memorial during the traditional July 4th celebration on the National Mall, saying the event should appear non-political.
The U.S. Park Police confirmed this week that Trump planned to attend this year’s celebration, which typically brings thousands to the nation’s capital.
“President Trump’s efforts to insert politics into a celebration of our nation’s history is extremely alarming,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said in a statement on Thursday. “Forcing taxpayers to foot the bill for what amounts to a political rally is irresponsible and a misuse of funds. I strongly urge the president to reconsider his proposed event.”
Hoyer is among several House Democrats who wrote a letter to Trump on Thursday asking him to abandon his plans, saying they worry it will “create the appearance of a televised, partisan campaign rally on the Mall at public expense.” In asking the president to reconsider, Democrats accused him of wanting to make the event about himself.
“In addition to drawing the administration’s attention to the cost, resource impacts and logistical headaches this will cause, we are respectfully asking the president to make himself part of this great celebration rather than attempting to make this great celebration about him,” Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva said in a statement.
Trump’s plans are being criticized not only for imposing a burden on the city logistically, but also for political reasons.
“The Fourth of July celebration is not about any one person; it is not a time for campaigning – but a time to celebrate our unity as a free nation,” Minnesota Rep. Betty McCollum said.
In February, Trump said this year’s July 4th celebration ould be “one of the biggest gatherings in the history” of the city.
“HOLD THE DATE!” Trump tweeted. “We will be having one of the biggest gatherings in the history of Washington, D.C., on July 4th. It will be called “A Salute To America” and will be held at the Lincoln Memorial. Major fireworks display, entertainment and an address by your favorite President, me!”
The move to amend the July 4 celebrations in Washington comes after Trump’s now-abandoned idea of holding a military parade, an idea apparently inspired by Bastille Day celebrations in France.
But the military parade idea was dropped after senior White House and Pentagon leaders estimated it would cost $92 million.
Fox News’ Lukas Mikelionis contributed to this report.