The Trump Administration has ordered major changes to be made to the capital’s Fourth of July celebrations in order to feature President Donald Trump more prominently. This action has incited rage among many opponents who are aghast that the president would turn a nonpartisan, unifying holiday such as the Fourth of July into a polarized, pro-Trump rally.

For years Trump has sought to hold some sort of large military parade in the capital in order to put himself at the head of such a patriotic display. Even before he was sworn in, the president looked into including military equipment and vehicles in his inaugural parade, in order to make it more impressive and add some pizzazz to the event. Even after that attempt didn’t pan out, Trump’s desire for spectacle remained. In 2017 his passion for extravagance flared up once again after visiting President Emmanuel Macron in France and witnessing the annual Bastille Day military parade. “I came back and one of my early calls were, I think we are going to have to start looking at that ourselves,” Trump told Macron. “We are actually thinking about Fourth of July, Pennsylvania Avenue, having a really great parade to show our military strength.” However, that attempt was stalled as well after the American president’s advisors reported that it would cost tens of millions of dollars to hold such an event.

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Now, it seems that since Trump can’t hold a separate military parade, he has decided instead to co-opt an existing patriotic ceremony and use it for his own desires. One of the biggest changes that are being made to the Fourth of July celebrations in Washington D.C. is that the president himself will take a leading role, addressing the public from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Critics of Trump have publicly stated their outrage at such an act, accusing the president of abusing a national holiday and turning it into some sort of presidential rally. Many fear that the positive messages that come with the Fourth of July will be tainted by the president’s greed, as well as by the possibility of anti-Trump protestors staging demonstrations during the festivities.

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