The National Parks Department is trying to figure out the logistics of Donald Trump’s request for tanks or “other armored military vehicles” to be placed on the National Mall before his 4th July celebrations in Washington.
The Washington Post reports:
“The ongoing negotiations over whether to use massive military hardware, such as Abrams tanks or Bradley Fighting Vehicles, as a prop for Trump’s “Salute to America” is just one of many unfinished details when it comes to the celebration planned for Thursday, according to several people briefed on the plan, who requested anonymity to speak frankly,”
National Park Service acting director P Daniel Smith faces plenty of looming priorities this summer, from an $11 billion backlog in maintenance needs to natural disasters like the recent wildfire damage to Big Bend Park.
But in recent days, another issue has competed for Smith’s attention: how to satisfy President Trump’s request to station tanks or other armored military vehicles on the Mall for his planned Fourth of July address to the nation.
White House officials intend to give out tickets for attendees to sit in a VIP section and watch Trump’s speech, but did not develop a distribution system before much of the staff left for Asia last week, according to two administration officials. Officials are also still working on other key crowd management details, such as how to get attendees through magnetometers in an orderly fashion.
Traditionally, major gatherings on the Mall, including inauguration festivities and a jubilee commemorating the start of a new millennium, have featured a designated event producer. But in this case, the producer is the president himself.
The celebration is somewhat of an extension of an idea for a military parade that Donald Trump ordered up for Veterans Day 2018. It was eventually shelved due to costs.