Donald Trump is planning what he almost assuredly believes will be a yuuuge Fourth of July
rally speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
But as D.C. leaders brace for what could be a massive security headache with the leader of the free world inserting himself in the middle of one of the nation’s largest July Fourth celebrations, the city still is waiting on more than $7 million the Trump team owes for his inauguration two years ago, the Washington Post reports.
As the Post explains:
The situation is riling local officials who say the federal government is not shouldering its fair share of security costs in the Trump era, which has seen an influx of demonstrators to the nation’s capital. The Fourth of July is shaping up as yet another logistical trial, with a reconfigured fireworks display, increased security for the president and at least one group of activists already planning a protest.
And according to Time magazine, adding to the city’s burden is the lack of details that have been provided thus far by the Trump administration about what the July Fourth event will entail.
Will the main event be the Lincoln Memorial speech or will it remain on the National Mall, where festivities have usually been centered over the years? And what exactly is Trump’s itinerary for the day, so police and other security details can be ready?
As Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton told Time:
“The city is scrambling to figure out what to do, because all they have is the outline of what [the White House] wants,” Norton said. She said she approached the [National] Park Service for details but: “They wouldn’t tell us a thing. You know why? Because they don’t know a thing.”
And to Time, the Park Service would only say:
“We continue to work with the White House on creating a Salute to America program that will bring Americans from all over the country together in celebration of our great nation.”
Yeah, that’s real specific.
Adding to the potential logistical nightmare is the long overdue inaugural bill.
A Trump administration official tells the Post the city got what it asked for to cover inauguration costs and didn’t ask for more; a point the city disputes.
And as the Post explains, while cost overruns aren’t unusual for inaugurations, prior administrations have put into Congress to get the bill paid, unlike the Trump team, which experienced:
a $7.3 million overrun for the event. That was not unusual: [President Barack] Obama’s second inauguration in 2013 went over budget by $8.9 million.
But while the Obama White House reimbursed the city’s extra costs through a plan submitted to Congress, the Trump administration has not done so, federal budget documents show. To make up the shortfall, the District tapped its Emergency Planning and Security Fund.
A fund, according to the Post, that may run out of money by the fall.
Despite the headaches, D.C. officials say they will do their duty to ensure a safe and enjoyable July Fourth for all:
“We have and will continue to work closely with our federal partners regardless of administration because ensuring the safety of our residents and visitors is paramount,” John Falcicchio, chief of staff to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, told the Post.