Donald Trump outlined plans for his Fourth of July celebration in Washington, D.C., saying the ceremony will have “brand new” Sherman tanks.
There’s only one problem with that — it’s been nearly 70 years since a new Sherman tank was made.
As Politico noted, Trump on Monday revealed some details about the controversial Independence Day celebration that he had planned for the National Mall. Speaking to reporters at a bill signing in the Oval Office, Trump said there would be a display of military vehicles that he claimed included new Sherman tanks, a model that was used largely during World War II and taken out of commission in the 1950s.
Trump’s promise to show off the non-existent new tanks was met with ridicule online, with many mocking his lack of historical knowledge and his penchant for showing off the nation’s military prowess — something that Trump has previously admired about autocratic leaders.
The Washington Post reported that Donald Trump has been unusually involved in the planning of the Fourth of July celebration, which he had announced earlier in the year. Critics have taken aim at Trump for appearing to break the non-partisan nature of the Independence Day celebration by including a speech that he will deliver at the Lincoln Memorial. Many have expressed concern that Trump could turn the historically apolitical event into something of a campaign rally.
Even the head of the company donating $750,000 of pyrotechnics for the fireworks show has raised concerns that Trump could go back on his word to keep politics out of the celebration of the birth of the United States of America.
“If it turns into a political rally, then I guess it’s probably not the best thing,” said Bruce Zoldan, the CEO of Phantom Fireworks, via Newsweek.
“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.”
Trump says July 4 celebration will have "brand new Sherman tanks."— Greg Miller (@gregpmiller) July 1, 2019
Sherman tanks haven't been in service since 1957. https://t.co/c4CNwdkgCg
For those interested, the 1944 M4A1 “Sherman,” and the 2019 M1A2 SEP3 “Abrams.” pic.twitter.com/2D9Q6WvuwA— Mark Hertling (@MarkHertling) July 1, 2019
There may already be signs that Donald Trump is taking the Fourth of July celebration away from its apolitical roots. The Washington Post reported that Trump was considering a plan to block off an area of the Lincoln Memorial to the midpoint of the reflecting pool for an exclusive party for friends, family, and other VIPs.