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D.C. Officials Push Back On Trump's July 4 Plans


July Fourth is a day for fireworks and parades. But this year, there will be more in the mix, at least here in Washington. President Trump is going to a speech at the Lincoln Memorial. There will be tanks and military flyovers. No one knows how much this is going to cost, and so local officials and D.C. residents are pushing back. Elly Yu of member station WAMU has the story.

ELLY YU, BYLINE: On Wednesday, the Lincoln Memorial was crowded with groups of tourists and visitors, as it usually is. But what's different is there are barricades and fencing surrounding the area. In front of the memorial steps is a big stage with a red carpet and bleachers right behind it.

ROBERT GOFFREDI: This is all Trump. This has never happened before.

YU: Robert Goffredi is giving a walking tour near the Reflecting Pool to a group of visitors. He's a third-generation D.C. resident, and he feels the president is hijacking the Fourth of July celebrations at the National Mall.

GOFFREDI: Congress should bill him personally for all this nonsense. This is stealing the memorial from the American people.

YU: Members of Congress have been trying to find out exactly how much the president's celebration, billed a "Salute to America," will cost. D.C. officials who are helping to secure the day's events say they'll submit a reimbursement request to the federal government after it's all over. Meanwhile, city officials say they're prepared for the day's events, including a protest near Trump's speech. More protests are planned Saturday, when a group of right-wing activists will hold what they call a free speech rally. Counterprotesters are expected to be there as well.

D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham.


PETER NEWSHAM: This is not out of the ordinary here in Washington, D.C., so we'll be ready for it.

YU: Tanks and military vehicles will also be stationed around the Mall for the event, and local officials are worried about the potential damage they can do to city streets. Meanwhile, the Federal Aviation Administration says it'll temporarily ground flights at Reagan National Airport for the flyovers. All this military display is why Ann Wright, a retired U.S. Army colonel, came to protest the Fourth of July event.

ANN WRIGHT: It's supposed to bring our country together. It's not supposed to be for militarism. This is kind of like Red Square and Pyongyang and Tehran, where all of the military troops are brought out as a form of nationalism. And that's not what we do.

YU: Meanwhile, the White House says the president's address will be patriotic, and he will, quote, "help all Americans celebrate our independence, our flag and our armed forces." For NPR News, I'm Elly Yu in Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Elly Yu is a reporter at WABE, where she first got her start in public radio as angraduate student intern in 2013. Since then, she’s reported for WNYC, NPR’s Latino USA, and the New York Daily News among others.
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