What in the name of Fourth of July tradition is Donald J. Trump doing to this year’s Fourth of July celebration?
Every Independence Day since, oh, perhaps The Flood, the nation’s capital has conducted a celebration aimed at inviting the public to cheer the birth of the United States of America.
It has been free of politics and, more importantly, of politicians. Spectators listen to music, poetry delivered by celebrities and, of course, fireworks. They cheer and shout and celebrate the nation we all love.
This year? Well, the president of the United States is going to take center stage. He will offer a “Salute to America” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. What’s more, there will be limited seating reserved only for reserved guests pre-approved by the White House; they will be seated from the Lincoln Memorial to halfway along the Washington Mall. The fireworks launch site has moved from The Mall to the Tidal Basin; vision will be partially obscured.
Perhaps the most unseemly aspect of all this will be the presence of the president. Tradition has kept presidents away because of security concerns. Not this year. Donald Trump was so smitten by a Bastille Day event he witnessed in Paris that he wanted to replicate it here. It’s the opening remarks that hold the greatest potential for this president saying something so totally inappropriate that has many of us cringing at the thought.
Do you think it is at all possible that Donald Trump would turn that opening event into a political campaign speech touting his re-election? Well, I do believe it is possible … if not probable that he would do that very thing.
I am willing to be proven wrong. If he delivers the kind of speech the Lincoln Memorial steps, then I will be glad to offer props for the president. I fear, though, that something quite inappropriate might be in store for us on the day we are supposed to celebrating the nation, not the individual who resides in the White House.
Prove me wrong, Mr. President.