U.S. President Donald Trump is going ahead with plans to hold an outdoor event to celebrate the Fourth of July, despite pleas from lawmakers and public health officials that it would not be safe to hold such a large event during a global pandemic.
As The Hill reported, the White House confirmed on Friday that the president and first lady Melania Trump are moving forward with plans to host the 2020 Salute to America on the White House’s South Lawn and Ellipse. The event will feature music, military demonstrations, and flyovers along with an address from Trump, the report added.
This news comes despite a letter from 10 capital-area lawmakers asking the secretaries of Defense and Interior to reconsider and cancel the event, which they said would “needlessly risk the health and safety of thousands of Americans” by potentially exposing them to the coronavirus.
The letter noted that the capital region has experienced some of the worst impact from the COVID-19 pandemic, with stay-at-home orders in place in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia and both confirmed cases and deaths on the rise in many jurisdictions. The letter expressed optimism that the numbers could be brought under control with a strong plan for diagnostic and antibody testing, the lawmakers noted that businesses are likely to remain closed and restrictions on public gatherings are expected to continue throughout the summer.
Trump has come under fire for plans to go ahead with large events despite the coronavirus still spreading. His campaign is holding a rally this Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma, its first public event since lockdown measures first went in place across the country in March.
The president has resisted calls to cancel the rally despite a surge in coronavirus cases in Oklahoma, which has seen some of its largest one-day increases in cases over the course of the last week. As The Inquisitr reported, the top local health officials also recommended not holding the rally.
Trump recently moved his Republican nomination acceptance speech out of North Carolina after the state would not accommodate his wish for no social distancing measures at this summer’s Republican National Convention. It will instead be held in Jacksonville, Florida, another state that has seen a surge in cases.
It was not clear what measures the Trump administration was planning to promote social distancing or keep the Fourth of July event safe, though the White House said in a statement released earlier in the week that the Fourth of July celebration would need to “have a different look than 2019 to ensure the health and safety of those attending.”