Days after presiding over a Fourth of July military celebration on the Mall in Washington, President Trump said Monday that he plans to hold a similar extravaganza next year.
“It was a wonderful day for all Americans, and based on its tremendous success, we’re just making the decision — and I think I can say, we’ve made the decision — to do it again next year, and maybe, we can say, for the foreseeable future,” Trump said at an event on environmental protection.
His announcement was greeted by applause from those gathered in the East Room of the White House.
Last week, Trump delivered a 47-minute speech at the Lincoln Memorial as part of his “Salute to America” event, which also featured a display of tanks and armored vehicles and a flyover by military aircraft.
Critics had argued that the cost of the taxpayer-funded event was excessive and that Trump was injecting politics into a typically nonpartisan day of celebration. The combined hourly cost of the flyovers, for instance, was at least $560,000 per hour, according to Defense Department figures and The Washington Post’s previous reporting.
Trump defended the event Monday, telling the crowd at the White House that “it was something really special.”
“Standing on the steps of the great Lincoln Memorial and looking out on the crowds — these incredible, big, beautiful crowds, braving the weather all the way back to the Washington Monument — we celebrated freedom, in all of its magnificence, while saluting our great military,” he said.