Trump’s ‘Salute to America’ Fourth of July event drew supporters and protesters, despite pouring rain

  • Thousands braved the pouring rain to arrive in downtown DC for Independence Day celebrations.
  • The all-day “Salute to America” event prompted controversy, due to President Donald Trump’s insistence on a show of military might and a speech in the evening.
  • A downpour across the city didn’t stop a series of military flyovers from wowing the crowds.
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Thousands of people, including both supporters and opponents of President Donald Trump, turned up for Independence Day celebrations in downtown Washington, DC.

The event included a show of military might, including tanks armoured vehicles stationed outside the Lincoln Memorial, and military plane flyovers. Trump himself spoke to the crowds Thursday evening.

Read more: Military flyovers stunned crowds at Trump’s controversial ‘Salute to America’ Fourth of July event

The event, titled “A Salute to America,” drew both praise and heavy condemnation in advance. Some spectators were excited to see the military flaunt its equipment and Trump give a speech, while others accused the president of co-opting what was supposed to be a holiday celebrating America’s history and national unity.

Here’s how the afternoon began:


A downpour across the city drenched attendees, and prompted questions over whether turnout would be high and whether flyovers would still occur.


But revelers and protesters still turned up despite the rain, covering themselves in ponchos and plastic bags, or toting umbrellas.

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The military showed off its might, including two 25-ton Bradley Fighting Vehicles stationed outside the entrance of the Lincoln Memorial.


Two 70-ton M1A2 Abrams tanks and an M88A2 HERCULES Armoured Recovery Vehicle also made appearances.

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Source: Military.com


Meanwhile, protesters with the organisation Codepink handed out small, foil balloons resembling Trump in a diaper.

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All the bells and whistles have prompted local officials to complain about the costs of Trump’s extravagant festivities, but the Trump administration has refused to detail how much the event will cost taxpayers.

Source: The Washington Post


The National Park Service, however, reportedly diverted nearly $US2.5 million to pay for Thursday’s celebrations. The money would otherwise have gone towards improving parks across the country.

Source: The Washington Post


Trump has defended the price tag, saying it will cost “very little compared to what it is worth.”

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1146426004635828224?ref_src=twsrc^tfw


Though the event was free and any member of the public could attend, the Lincoln Memorial was sectioned off by a chainlink fence for VIPs who had purchased tickets to Trump’s speech.


But privately, Trump’s aides reportedly worried about empty seats, and rushed in the previous days to sell tickets and ramp up participation.

Source: The Associated Press


Trump spoke at the National Mall around 6:30, becoming the first president in nearly 70 years to do so on Independence Day.

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His promise of an Air Force One flyover was fulfilled, and stunned the crowds.

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Trump’s speech included patriotic themes and platitudes, as well as highlights from America’s military history.


He spoke to the crowd while protected by sheets of bulletproof glass drenched in rainwater.

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At one point, Trump seemingly veered off-script into a bombastic, campaign-like promise to “plant the American flag on Mars,” though such a goal is unlikely to be achieved anytime soon.

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Next came a series of elaborate military flyovers from each branch: the Coast Guard, the Air Force, the Navy, the Marines, and the Army.


The show — and Trump’s speech — wrapped up with a flyover by the Blue Angels.