Donald Trump’s 4th of July “Salute To America” cost the Defense Department at least $1.2 million, likely considerably more, according to numbers released this week by the Pentagon. That figure is likely only a fraction of the cost to the military alone and says nothing of the overall cost of the event.
As Yahoo News reports, the Pentagon confirmed that the Department of Defense used $1.2 million of its budget for the parade. However, it’s not clear which aspect of the parade, specifically, was covered by that money. It’s also clear that the event cost the military considerably more than that.
During his speech, Trump was flanked by two Bradley fighting vehicles, which had to be moved from their home base in Georgia to Washington. Also present at the parade were two Abrams tanks, also moved from Georgia. Similarly, there were flyovers of military aircraft, the cost of which came from the military services’ training budgets and wasn’t expressed in the figures provided by the Pentagon this week. The cost of flying a B-2 bomber for an hour, for example, costs about $122,000, according to the Air Force; it’s not clear if that cost was covered by the figure the Pentagon provided, either.
Fox News breaks July 4 records with ratings for Trump's 'Salute to America' https://t.co/a1qnRISMlF
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) July 9, 2019
The Pentagon figures also don’t reflect the costs of the event that were borne by other agencies and entities. For example, the National Park Service, which maintains many of the public areas in Washington, such as the National Mall, has said that it had to move around money within its own budget to come up with $2.5 million for the event. And it’s not clear, as of this writing, how much the city wound up having to pay, for police and fire protection, street closures, and other costs.
As Washington’s WTOP-TV reports, some Congressional Democrats are calling for a probe of the event and its attendant costs. In a letter sent to Comptroller General Gene Dodaro with the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Maryland Democrat Senator Chris Van Hollen said he wants to know if any laws were violated in using public funds to pay for the event.
“Congress did not specifically provide funds to cover the costs of the president’s expanded Fourth of July events, and we are very concerned by the impacts and the precedent of diverting limited federal resources,” Van Hollen wrote.
Donald Trump, meanwhile, has said that the July 4 event was an unqualified success, and he plans to hold more on subsequent July 4ths “for the foreseeable future.”