Welcome back from the long weekend, folks. I hope you're relaxed, refreshed, and digesting those hotdogs with no problem. On the Fourth of July, President Donald Trump unveiled one of the largest and most impressive firework displays in White House history. The event also featured military flyovers, live music, and more. Seeing as this was quite the celebration, you might be wondering, how much did Trump's Fourth of July Salute to America cost? According to reports, it was quite the pretty penny.
On Tuesday, July 9, NPR reported that Trump's Salute to America event cost at least $1.2 million, according to the Pentagon. However, this price tag only refers to the military expenditures during the Fourth of July event, such as the cost of flyovers, tank displays, and military demonstrations. According to a statement from the Pentagon provided to NPR, the funding for the event came from military services' training budgets. The statement read,
The Department of Defense supported the 'Salute to America' with demonstrations by aircraft, static displays of equipment and ceremonial unit participation. Funding for the demonstrations came from the military services' training budgets that facilitate flying hours, which are imperative to military readiness. Additional funding was used for the transportation of static displays and equipment.
The White House did not immediately respond to Elite Daily's request for comment regarding the cost of the military portion of the event.
That was hardly the total price tag, though. On July 9, Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a letter to the White House that the event had bankrupted a fund used for city security meant to protect against terrorist threats, per The Washington Post. The event cost the city government $1.7 million, plus costs associated with demonstrations over the holiday weekend. Bowser warned that the fund would be at a $6 million deficit by Sept. 30. In an email to Elite Daily, White House spokesperson Judd Deere said, “President Trump led our Nation in a great Salute to America and recognized the brave sacrifice our service men and women have made throughout history. We have received the letter and will respond in a timely manner.”
In the letter, Bowser also said that the fund had not been reimbursed for $7.3 million in costs for President Trump's 2017 inauguration. In response to Elite Daily's request for comment, a senior administration official said that extra costs for the inauguration had been paid out of carryover funds from the emergency planning and security account in the 2018 budget, and that the city had not asked for extra inauguration funds in subsequent budgets for the 2019 and 2020 fiscal years.
While spectators might have enjoyed the show, other citizens decided to focus their attention elsewhere. On the Fourth of July, protestors gathered at the Lincoln Memorial on Washington D.C.'s National Mall to demonstrate. That day, social justice organization Code Pink released the infamous Trump Baby Blimp in front of the Lincoln Memorial, and also brought out a 16-foot-tall "Dumping Trump" robot.
In addition to Code Pink's humorous contributions, more serious acts of protest also took place. During the Salute to America, protestors reportedly staged a flag burning event in front of the White House, which led to an altercation between protesters and Trump supporters.
Protests weren't the only notable moments. In his remarks, the president drew raised eyebrows when he claimed the United States' army took over airports during the Revolutionary War. He said,
The Continental Army suffered a bitter winter of Valley Forge. Found glory across the waters of the Delaware and seized victory from Cornwallis of Yorktown. Our army manned the [unclear]. It rammed the ramparts. It took over the airports. It did everything it had to do. And at Fort McHenry, under the rockets’ red glare, it had nothing but victory. And when dawn came, their star-spangled banner waved defiant.
The thing is, airplanes weren't invented until 1903. (Also, "The Star-Spangled Banner" wasn't written until 1814, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt that he was just talking about a generic American flag.) Naturally, Twitter immediately called out Trump for this odd mistake during his address.
From Trump blimps to military flyovers, the Salute to America event was memorable for a few reasons. Given the price tag, I hope we all enjoyed the show!