Donald Trump’s hijacking of the 4th of July: Armored Vehicle Edition

We’ve known for quite a while that Donald Trump has wanted to preside over a public display of what he perceives to be “his” military force. He’s said as much publicly. In the past, though, there have always been people, like Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, who have stood in the way, and kept him from acting on his plans. Well, today, with almost every non-Trumpist banished from the Republican Party, and no real Secretary of Defense at the helm, Donald Trump has finally gotten his way. As I write this, there are tanks lined up in front of the Lincoln Memorial, and military jets are preparing to fly overhead as Donald Trump addresses the nation in yet another enormous break with history and tradition.

Earlier today, I was in the car with the kids, and I was trying to explain to them why it was that U.S. presidents have historically been reticent to preside over displays of military might, and why no president since 1951 has addressed the nation on the Fourth of July from the Mall, when Harry Truman delivered remarks on the 175th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. “It’s just not something we’ve done in this country,” I told them. “We don’t, as a rule, use members of the military as props here in America, and the Fourth of July has historically been a holiday celebrated by everyone, regardless of political persuasion, relatively free from politics.” But all of that is changing today, as Donald Trump prepares to walk out in front of the Lincoln Memorial and discuss how he, as our leader, has “made America great again,” as fighters fly overhead.

The White House has guaranteed that Trump’s remarks would be non-political, and that he wouldn’t be treating this like just another one of his infamous rallies, but I suspect he may not be able to help himself. The temptation of going off on a tangent about how Democratic leaders and members of the free press are “enemies of America,” while members of the MAGA hat-wearing audience shout out “lock her up,” I think, may be too much.

A few years ago, on the Fourth of July, the family and I were in DC, and we watched the festivities on television from the basement of my aunt’s house in the suburbs. We thought of going to listen to the classical music, and watch the fireworks in person, but we were just too tired after a day of sightseeing… It’s just so amazing what’s happened since then, and the degree to which things have continued to slide toward authoritarianism… One hesitates to think what July 4, 2020 might look like, and whether there may be flags emblazoned with Trump’s face flying around the Mall.

Oh, and worse yet… not only did Donald Trump hijack a national holiday to make it about himself, but, in doing so, he essentially reallocated federal funds for the purposes of what is pretty much a campaign event. [I can’t wait to see the footage of him on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, with the fighters overhead, tart to show up on his campaign ads.] The Washington Post reported yesterday that “the National Park Service is diverting almost $2.5 million in fees — primarily intended to improve U.S. parks — to cover some of the costs associated with the event.” And, as you can see in the photo above, it’s not an event that’s open to all Americans. The Republican National Committee is just distributing tickets to Trump supporters… Here’s our friend Elizabeth Warren with the facts.

And that’s not all. It’s also looking as though Trump may have rolled back proposed tariffs on Chinese fireworks in order to get the Ohio-based company, Phantom Fireworks, to provide free fireworks for this event of his… Another impeachable offense.

update: OK, Trump just spoke, telling his fans who showed up for this taxpayer-funded event that, during the Revolutionary War, we won, at least in part, because we “took over the airports.”

Oh, and here’s one more thing. I really wish that someone would have acted on this idea of mine and set up free super-patriotic bone spur screening tents around the Mall yesterday.

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20 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    It’s not just the $2.5 million. There will also be considerable road damage that needs paying for. Tanks do damage.

    https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/d-c-plans-bill-trump-any-tank-damage-roads-bridges-n1026396

  2. Anonymous
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    Not many people showed up. Those who did got rained out.

    https://twitter.com/Cpatrickis/status/1146868509474983943

  3. Posted July 4, 2019 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    People are getting dumber fast.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nbcnews.com/think/amp/ncna1008576

    Fortunately, dumb people don’t worry that they’re dumb. They in fact perceive themselves as very clever.

  4. Jean Henry
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.
    Erma Bombeck

  5. Anonymous
    Posted July 5, 2019 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    Tanks, but no tanks.

  6. Mad Maxine
    Posted July 5, 2019 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    This is all starting to look very familiar. It’s all very pre-apocalyptic.

  7. Lou Dobbs by proxy
    Posted July 5, 2019 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    No wonder these Snowflake Generals haven’t won a war since 1991: “Military chiefs concerned about @realDonaldTrump’s July Fourth celebration” https://mol.im/a/7211793 via @MailOnline #MAGA #AmericaFirst #Dobbs

    https://twitter.com/mccaffreyr3/status/1146975351077126145

  8. Bob
    Posted July 5, 2019 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Has there been any coverage of the military showing opposition to that shit show? I find it hard to believe that even the most conservative officers took kindly to being such props for this fool. The diversion of national parks funding is an outrage. I can’t believe even the truly braindead purple kool-aiders like Warlord and EOS can defend this.

    And he said our army defended the airports during the Revolutionary War. Fucking hell.

  9. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted July 5, 2019 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    “of what he perceives to be “his” military force”

    I mean the President is “Commander In Chief” of the armed forces. Not exactly a “perception” is it? How dense are you?

  10. Lynne
    Posted July 5, 2019 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    The guy is a national embarrassment. I didn’t take part in any festivities this year It would have felt weird celebrating a country that is putting people into concentration camps.

  11. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted July 5, 2019 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Yeah those concentration camps AOC lied about. You are the embarrassment. You and your entire anti-intellectual stream.

    Trump wants to simply be able to deport illegal immigrants. Your party’s policy forces a lengthly legal process during which they are released on personal recognizance into the USA! If they have a child it is a lock they will get in which has spurred child trafficking. People are using unrelated children to help them get in. Some of them are sold into slavery.

  12. Sad
    Posted July 5, 2019 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    HW did you see the picture of the dead man and child in the river?

    If our country was in an economic free fall and plaqued by gang violence might you not try to get to Canada?

    Seriously? Have you no compassion?

    Mayor Pete would let them in AND give them free health care

  13. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted July 5, 2019 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Again it is your party’s policies that have created a tremendous incentive for illegal immigrants to enter the USA. The number of illegal immigrants with children has increased because of the policies of Obama et al. Children are being used as human props to ensure their “relatives” are allowed a hearing and are released. Begin immediate deportations of all those entering illegally and you take away that incentive and prevent children from dying because someone who may or may not be their family is trying to sneak in with them. …Mayor Pete doesn’t care about black people.

  14. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted July 5, 2019 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    I could see trying to get in to the USA if my country was completely fucked. I wouldn’t be mad if I got sent back though. I’d just be like “¡Maldita sea! Esta situación en la que me he metido es muy mala…”

  15. Sad
    Posted July 5, 2019 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Mayor Pete cares about everyone.

    It’s his official policy.

    Except maybe a Mike Pence. I don’t think he like Mike Pence.

    I say more power to anyone trying to better their lives. My ancestors came here. Of course back then we realized that the more the merrier and growth leads to prosperity.

  16. Sad
    Posted July 5, 2019 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    I mean have you seen all the help wanted signs?

    If everyone could hire all the help they need things would really be booming.

  17. Dogmatic Dolt
    Posted July 5, 2019 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Aloha, Don’t worry. Be Happy. Didn’t the Leader say some thing about turning up the air conditioner yesterday?

    https://www.npr.org/2019/07/05/738905306/it-was-a-balmy-90-degrees-yesterday-in-anchorage-for-the-first-time-on-record?utm_campaign=npr&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_term=nprnews&fbclid=IwAR2QtQ-HkOExROIBU0JdgwUNpqJKs5D9Nnxm4kU8fiBVzpjrbRRSW9xa6Uw

  18. NBC News
    Posted July 6, 2019 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    President Trump blamed a faulty teleprompter for a moment in his Fourth of July speech in which he claimed the Continental Army “manned the air” and “took over the airports” during the Revolutionary War.

  19. Jean Henry
    Posted July 6, 2019 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    “I asked the woman what “Q” meant. She smiled warmly.

    “What I believe it is, is a military operation that is communicating with the public,” said the woman, a follower of Q, a mysterious online conspiracy theorist who claims to have top-secret information about various plots and intrigues involving the Trump Administration and the wider political world. “I don’t think it’s just one person,” she added, explaining that posts on the Web site were perhaps written by Donald Trump himself. I then asked what the J.F.K., Jr. cutout was all about.

    “You know how he died, right?”

    “A plane crash,” I replied.

    “So there’s a theory that there’s a possibility, that, maybe . . . ”

    She smiled almost apologetically.

    “ . . . he didn’t actually perish.”

    “I see,” I said.

    “That he staged his own death. In order to not only avenge his father’s death—J.F.K., who was assassinated—but also to take back our government. So it’s for the people, not an elite group.”

    “So, he’s working with Trump to do that?” I asked.

    “Possibly. Wouldn’t it be a neat ticket for 2020?”

    I replied that it would be an interesting one.“

  20. Jean Henry
    Posted July 6, 2019 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Forgot link:
    https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/cutouts-of-jfk-jr-tanks-and-adulation-at-trumps-salute-to-america

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