Trump announces 4th of July event
President Donald Trump will host his 4th of July event on the White House South Lawn this year despite pushback from elected officials over D.C.’s current coronavirus restrictions.
On Friday, the White House announced that Trump, along with the Department of the Interior, will host the “Salute to America” celebration complete with music, military flyovers, and a spectacular fireworks show over the National Mall.
Earlier this month, the White House said that Trump feels Americans deserve to celebrate the nation’s birthday.
“The American people have shown tremendous courage and spirit in the fight against this global pandemic just as our forefathers did in the fight to secure our independence,” said White House spokesman Judd Deere.
The announcement was met with sharp criticism from Virginia Congressman Don Beyer (D) who previously sent Trump a letter asking him to cancel any plans for an Independence Day celebration.
“Hot off threatening to violate the constitutionally-protected rights of peaceful protesters earlier today, the President is again displaying his fondness for dictators and the trappings of autocracy,” Beyer said. “The President of the United States should be capable of celebrating Independence Day responsibly. Instead, he is using the military to stage yet another costly political photo op.”
Mass gatherings over 50 people are still prohibited in Washington, D.C. as it enters phase two of its reopening plan. Trump is able to get around this restriction imposed by Mayor Muriel Bowser by hosting the event on federal property.
The president has acknowledged that precautions will likely need to be in place. He said that people will need to stand farther apart than in previous years and says he recognizes that crowds will likely be smaller than last year.
“We’ll have to do that in a very interesting way,” Trump said in April. “Maybe we’ll even do it greater. Leave a little extra distance. But if we do that, we’d certainly do that.”
Trump held a rally in Tulsa, OK on Saturday and despite the campaign handing out masks to all attendees, very few in the crowd chose to wear them. The Trump campaign did require all attendees to sign a waiver, agreeing that they could not sue for any coronavirus complications.
The White House has not yet said if they will require 4th of July attendees to sign a waiver.
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