The Trump administration gave the Republican National Committee a chunk of tickets to President Donald Trump‘s Fourth of July speech, which the R.N.C. then gave out to wealthy GOP donors, resulting in outrage from Democrats who are accusing the president of using the publicly funded Fourth of July celebration as a political rally.


The R.N.C. confirmed on Tuesday that it had received some tickets to the speech and that it had given out those tickets to top GOP donors. The organization also emphasized that it was common for the Republican or Democratic National Committees to receive tickets to presidential events such as Christmases and garden tours. The White House also allocated tickets to top aides at various government agencies, allowing them to distribute the passes as they see fit.

Top Democrats were quick to claim that the emphasis that Trump had put on himself in the celebration was turning the festivities into a political rally and that he should have to reimburse the government for the funds spent to better his own campaign. “We’ve never seen anything like this,” said Sen. Tom Udall of (D-New Mexico), the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies. “No ticketed political event should be paid for with taxpayer dollars.”

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Udall pointed out that Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt had yet to respond to Democrats’ inquiries into how much the extravaganza would cost and how it would be run. “This is the typical stonewall of the Trump administration. But there will be hearings, and we will have an opportunity to grill the Trump administration on how much money was spent and where the money was taken from,” he said, adding that the balance of power needed to be upheld. “The Congress tells the executive branch how to spend money.”

Depending on the content of Trump’s speech, some Democrats may attempt to force Trump’s campaign to reimburse the government for money spent on the festivities. If he mentioned the 2020 campaign or topics such as his fellow candidates and how they are doing in the polls, then some critics may claim that his speech constitutes a self-beneficial political address.

The president is set to speak from the Lincoln Memorial Thursday night amid what he calls a “Salute to America.” The celebration will involve a display of American military force in the form of a Navy flyover and the presence of several American tanks.

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