On July 3, Mr. Trump will be at Mount Rushmore for a celebration and fireworks display, and on the Fourth he will be back in Washington to host events that will include multiple flyovers by military aircraft and a 35-minute fireworks display over the Mall. Most localities have scrapped their traditional festivities, coming up with imaginative replacements such as virtual fireworks or on-screen festivals as they urge people to stay home and stay safe. But nothing — not health experts’ concerns about large gatherings, not alarming spikes in recent days in virus case levels, not pleas from worried D.C. and Washington-area officials — gives pause to Mr. Trump about going ahead with these potentially dangerous events. “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, and both deserve celebration on America’s birthday this year,” a White House spokesman emailed us Wednesday when we questioned the wisdom of having thousands of people gather on the Mall.
Local officials have banned gatherings larger than 50 people in a bid to stop the infection’s spread, and together the officials and people of Maryland, Virginia and the District have made progress in slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus. That makes all the more infuriating Mr. Trump’s insistence on importing to the region the heedlessness he has encouraged elsewhere. Local edicts don’t apply to federal land, so Mr. Trump can pretty much do what he wants, even if it is against the advice and wishes of health experts, local officials and park professionals. Despite the White House spin about Americans deserving a celebration, this is not about them but about the president’s desire to be at the center of a grand setting.
D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) is urging people to stay home and keep their celebrations small and safe. It’s good advice. There will be many more Fourths to enjoy the fireworks — for those who live to see those days. We hope people — in South Dakota as well as the District — heed Ms. Bowser’s sound advice.