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Next Year's D.C. Fourth Of July Will Be Even Worse

Now that Trump has gotten his way, don't expect him to be pacified.
Next Year's D.C. Fourth Of July Will Be Even Worse
Tanks waiting to be placed on the National Mall as ordered by Donald Trump. Image from: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Our toddler president cried less than we expected when he wasn't allowed to play with certain toys two years ago:

After watching the Bastille Day parade in 2017 in Paris, Mr. Trump said that “we may do something like that on July 4 in Washington down Pennsylvania Avenue.” He later raised the idea of a military parade on Veterans Day, but abandoned it in the face of public opposition from city officials, private dissent from the Pentagon and a price tag of more than $90 million.

But he's been sulking ever since, and now, of course, he's getting his way:

President Trump said on Monday that the Pentagon would put military tanks on display on Thursday in Washington as part of his plans to turn the annual Fourth of July celebration in the nation’s capital into a salute to the country’s military prowess.

The tanks will join an airborne display of the nation’s firepower, including a flight of Air Force One over Washington and a performance by the Navy’s Blue Angels jets.

And because the toddler is also instinctively a fascist, and is also not ashamed to be in obvious pursuit of reflected glory, there's this:

Mr. Trump, who is to speak at the celebration, has requested that the chiefs for the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines stand next to him as aircraft from each of their services fly overhead and their respective hymns play on loudspeakers.

But he's not getting everything he wants:

A small number of M1 Abrams tanks and other armored vehicles will participate in President Donald Trump's July Fourth celebrations in Washington on Thursday....

However, they will not parade down Pennsylvania Avenue due to the need to protect roads and bridges....

A US defense official said that the current plan is to have a very small number of armored vehicles participate as part of a "static display" at the event on the National Mall. The vehicles will not be moving thereby reducing the chance of damaging local infrastructure. The number of vehicles will be very small with the current plan to have two M1 Abrams tanks, two Bradley fighting vehicles and an armored M88 Recovery Vehicle, along with an "appropriate" number of accompanying personnel.


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The president is excited about his new toys, but he seems unfamiliar with them:

Mr. Trump said that “brand-new Abrams tanks” and “brand-new Sherman tanks” would be on display on Thursday. The M1 Abrams tank was used during the Persian Gulf war of 1991 and is still currently in use by the military. The M4 Sherman was used by the United States during World War II and the Korean War, and is no longer in active service.

Richard Nixon was the last president to intervene in D.C.'s annual Fourth of July celebration, in 1970. He also created a big display of unsubtle, self-serving patriotism (although with no tanks). That didn't work out so well:

... young people described by some reporters as “hippies and yippies” shouted obscenities and raised the Vietcong flag. As the U.S. Army Band played “The Star-Spangled Banner,” some protesters marched in the nearby reflecting pool to a set of bongo drums. Later, some went skinny-dipping in the pool. Countering the antiwar protesters were members of the National Socialist White People’s Party, some wearing Nazi insignia.

... Just as the [main] show was about to get underway, protesters overturned a Good Humor ice cream truck, and anti-riot police moved in. The police or someone in the crowd threw a tear-gas canister, and the tear gas “wafted” over the back rows of the audience. Some protesters threw bottles.

As he prepared to go onstage, master of ceremonies [Bob] Hope looked out at the scene and remarked, “It looks like Vietnam, doesn’t it?”

The organizers in 1970 said the event had gone well -- and that was true, at least, of the part the rest of America saw that night:

The televised show went off without a hitch. Kate Smith sang a stirring rendition of “God Bless America.” Comedian Red Skelton recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Then came performances by comedian Jack Benny, Louis Armstrong, Dinah Shore and Glenn Campbell.

But the event hadn't gone well. Nixon didn't repeat the experiment in subsequent years.

That's the difference between Nixon and Trump: Unless this event is utterly catastrophic, Trump will believe what Fox News will inevitably say: that it was a remarkable display of patriotism, that America loved it, and that the citizenry wishes he'd create an even bigger and better show next year.

Believe me, he'll try. A year from now, an election will be four months away. There's a good chance Trump will be trailing in the polls. Of course he'll try. And this time he'll insist that the damn tanks have to roll down Pennsylvania Avenue, no matter how much damage they do to the roads.

As bad as this year's event will be, next year's will be much worse. Every Trump whim will be indulged.

Published with permission of No More Mr. Nice Blog

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