National Park Service Diverts $2.5 MM To Pay For Trump’s Fourth Of July Spectacle
Two-and-a-half million dollars has been diverted from the National Park Service in order to pay for president Donald Trump‘s Fourth of July extravaganza, preventing that money from being used to repair the nation’s parks.
According to two officials familiar with the arrangement, the funds will be taken from entrance and recreation fees that the National Park Service collects and uses to fund maintenance projects across the country’s various green spaces. “Certainly going to be more expensive than previous years. Anytime you get a presidential visit there are inherent security costs,” said Mark Litterst of the National Park Service.
Trump, who has been pushing for a military-focused parade for years, defended the cost of the spectacle in a tweet Wednesday: “The cost of our great Salute to America tomorrow will be very little compared to what it is worth.” He claimed that since America already has the planes, the pilots, and the vehicles, all that they need to pay for is fuel. “Nice!”
The cost of our great Salute to America tomorrow will be very little compared to what it is worth. We own the planes, we have the pilots, the airport is right next door (Andrews), all we need is the fuel. We own the tanks and all. Fireworks are donated by two of the greats. Nice!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 3, 2019
While it is true that the United States already owns all the requisite equipment, mobilizing that many people and that much machinery costs a pretty penny. The price of Washington D.C.’s annual Fourth of July event has skyrocketed this year due to Trump’s various additions. While the celebrations usually cost around $2 million, the inclusion of military vehicles, which cost thousands of dollars an hour to pilot, as well as the added security necessitated by the president’s presence ensure that $2 million will just be a fraction of the total cost this year.
The Trump administration has repeatedly refused to disclose the amount that will be spent on the festivities, worrying many that the taxpayers will be shelling out a significant chunk of cash for what many believe amounts to a political rally. As the Republican National Committee gives top GOP donors tickets to Trump’s planned speech, the events begin to seem more and more like a typical Trump political rally, spectacle and all. The only difference is that this time the rally will be paid for by the taxpayers, not by Trump himself.