Yesterday’s “Salute to America” Fourth of July celebration in Washington DC featured a parade, air show, fireworks display, and speech from President Trump. Ariel photos from the event show a massive crowd in attendance, filling both sides of the Lincoln Memorial’s Reflecting Pool and stretching all the way to the Washington Monument. President Trump received quite a bit of criticism when the event was announced, especially from his 2020 Democratic opponents.
Although the celebration seems to have been a popular attraction among those in the DC area, most of the major news networks chose not to air the event. CBS, ABC, NBC, and MSNBC all decided not to cover the event or speech in its entirety. Although, the speech may have turned out to be less partisan than many of the president’s critics were expecting.
President Trump’s speech mostly focused on American history and the military. He praised members of the military, first responders, and civil rights leaders. The event featured a wide variety of military planes and helicopters, including a flyover by each branch of the armed forces.
“For over 65 years, no enemy Air Force has managed to kill a single American soldier. Because the skies belong to the United States of America,” The President said during his speech. “Our nation is stronger today than it ever was before… We celebrate our history, our people, and the heroes who proudly defend our flag: the brave men and women of the United States military.”
Critics of President Trump were quick to pounce on his Fourth of July celebration when the inclusion of military hardware was announced. They say the president is attempting to portray himself as a military strongman, similar to a dictator. Many of President Trump’s supporters, on the other hand, have compared the festivities to France’s Bastille Day.
During a campaign event in Iowa yesterday, former Vice President Joe Biden said, “I wonder what Donald Trump will say this evening, when he speaks to the nation at an event designed more to stroke his ego than celebrate American ideals.”
2020 hopefuls Kirsten Gillibrand and Tulsi Gabbard also attacked President Trump for holding the event. Gillibrand called the celebration a waste of money, suggesting the president would rather spend government resources to flaunt military hardware than help struggling families. Gabbard, a member of the Hawaii Army National Guard, claimed the event dishonors the military and veterans.
Judging by President Trump’s tweets and retweets, he seems very pleased with how the “Salute to America” celebration turned out. He even retweeted a video from CBS News, not exactly one of his favorite outlets, showing fireworks filling the sky above the National Mall.