Just a week before events on the National Mall, Donald Trump’s revamp of the 4th of July celebration is finally coming clear, and as it does what’s revealed is exactly what people feared—Trump is turning the national celebration into a Trump rally writ large. And to make that clear, Trump will block off a huge section of the Mall expressly for his “family and friends.”
Washington’s 4th of July celebration is no longer about national unity. It’s about Trump loyalty.
As The Washington Post reports, the area in front of the Lincoln Memorial will only be available to those carrying a ticket issued by the Trump White House. This section will not just be a small area around the steps, but will extend much of the way back along the reflecting pool. Think of any picture you’ve ever seen of Americans gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial to protest, celebrate, or illuminate. Now think of that area labeled “Friends of Trump Only.”
How the VIP section will affect the ability of those not blessed with Trump’s approval to see what is happening, or to even reach the National Mall, is “still unclear” just days before the ceremony. What is clear is that the event will be much more martial than celebrations in the past. Trump, who has often expressed his love of military parades, isn’t quite getting the line of tanks and missile carriers through downtown D.C. that he wanted. But he is getting many more military planes screaming over his “friends.”
Those flybys mean that Reagan National Airport will be closed for over an hour, and flights coming into Washington are being shoved around. Some people who had plans for coming to the Nation’s capital for the 4th will find that flights are delayed, cancelled, or rescheduled. But they won’t find out yet, because things are still aren’t worked out just days before the event.
What’s clear is that Trump intends to bring his rally routine to the national mall, and to co-opt the nation’s birthday into just another stop on his touring hate show. But with more planes, more fireworks, and an absolute statement that his followers are laying claim to the nation … and everyone else takes a back seat.
Maybe Trump will bring back the Covington Catholic High School kids … they’re already familiar with the area and they already have the hats for it.