Donald Trump is reportedly looking to close off the Lincoln Memorial on the Fourth of July so he can use the historic monument for an exclusive party for his friends, family, and top “VIP” guests.
The Washington Post first reported on Trump’s Independence Day plans, which would apparently include blocking off a large area from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to the midpoint of the reflecting pool. The exclusive party is part of the larger “Salute to America” that Trump announced earlier this year, to much controversy.
The Fourth of July celebrations in Washington, D.C., have long taken a non-partisan approach. The celebration Trump announced appeared to break that tradition, including a speech from Trump alongside other attractions like fireworks and a flyover from the Blue Angels.
Critics have said this inserts partisanship into what has otherwise historically been a celebration of America that is free from any political persuasion. Many have expressed concern that Trump will try to turn the event into a political rally, as nearly all of his speeches have been heavy on partisan attacks against Democrats and other perceived enemies.
The owner of the company donating the fireworks to Trump’s “Salute to America” celebration has already expressed concern that Trump will turn the nonpartisan event into a political rally, Newsweek reported. Bruce Zoldan, the CEO of Phantom Fireworks, is donating $750,000 worth of pyrotechnics for the Fourth of July show and said he is trusting Trump to stick to his word and avoid partisanship.
“If it turns into a political rally, then I guess it’s probably not the best thing,” Zoldan said. “But if he’s talking about America and celebrating its birthday, I see nothing wrong with it. I think trust is important to have and if it’s something that turns out not to be what we hoped for — a uniting of America on the Fourth of July — then obviously we might be disappointed. But we have hopes that it will be a speech about July Fourth, the birthday of America, the celebration of the anniversary of the birth of America.”
If President Trump is careful and has the self-discipline to talk only about government policies, at his Fourth of July event, then it will not break the law.
But Trump is not known for his restraint.https://t.co/HT4U9BGb2Y
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) June 29, 2019
The White House said that tickets for the Lincoln Memorial area would be free, and exist only to ensure that people inside would go through security screening. But the White House offered no information on how these tickets would be distributed or what process members of the public would go through to obtain them, Raw Story noted.