Happy July 4th. I hope everyone gets to do something traditional, like eat hot dogs, watch a baseball game, or go see fireworks. Of course, they didn’t have hot dogs and baseball in 1776, but “tradition” is an ever-changing thing.
And then there’s the abomination that will play out this evening in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Dahlia Lithwick explains all the many ways Trumpalooza could turn into an illegal act.
While the president himself is not bound by the [Hatch] act, the July 4 event turns into a taxpayer-funded Trump campaign rally if any of the following happens:
• Trump uses one of his campaign slogans: “Make America Great Again” or “Keep America Great.”
• Trump mentions the election, his reelection, or a desire to stay in office.
• Trump mentions election polling, his approval rating, or his fundraising efforts.
• Trump mentions a candidate vying for a rival party’s nomination for president.
• Trump mentions his political party or a rival political party.
• Volunteers hand out campaign signs, banners, or flyers.
• Other speakers onstage mention Trump’s campaign, reelection, or a desire for Trump to remain in office.
• Other speakers on the stage mention one of Trump’s political rivals, Trump’s political party, or a rival political party.
• Trump campaign officials are present at the event.
• any other indicia of political activity
Also of note is the fact that there will be a VIP section in front of the Lincoln Memorial, with tickets distributed by the White House and the Republican National Committee. As HuffPost reported this past week, the RNC is offering major donors tickets, as are political appointees at the White House, but the Democratic National Committee was not given any tickets to give away. HuffPost further reports that on Tuesday, the Trump campaign sent an email to its list inviting supporters to the event that included the following phrases: “We believe this is an important way to reach our grassroots supporters with the most up-to-date information regarding the efforts of Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., and we’re glad you’re on our team. It’s because of grassroots supporters like you that we will Make America Great Again, and we appreciate your support.
Thank you for all that you do!”
None of what Trump plans is traditional. Well, unless you consider avarice to be traditional. Rooms at Trump’s Washington hotel are sold out at twice a standard rate, Lithwick says. Those profits go straight into the pockets of the Trump family.
I’ve been in Washington on the 4th. Beside being hot as blazes, normally there’s an open air concert on the West Lawn. Was there a parade? I remember seeing the Old Guard fife and drum corps march down Constitution Avenue, which was cool. The mall is kind of a permanent, stationary parade, what with all the monuments and museums, and putting a lot of whoop-dee-doo on the street seems extraneous to me. And then there was a fireworks display at night, which was quite good, although nothing like Macy’s on the East River. But there were no roped-off VIP areas on the mall when I was there. You just sat where you found an open spot. Bring your own blankets or lawn chairs.
“You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.” –Erma Bombeck
Whatever Trump does is never patriotism.
Update: I’m just hearing that most of the mall around the Lincoln Memorial has been fenced off.
It appears most of the folks down on the National Mall won’t be able to get very close to the tanks and military vehicles down by the Lincoln Memorial. That area is behind a lot of fencing and security (accessible to VIP’s and other ticketed guests). pic.twitter.com/2iWoyxqnip
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) July 4, 2019
The Lincoln. Memorial. Is. Closed. to. the. Public. Anyone visiting DC right now can’t get anywhere close to it, unless you are a Trump crony gifted with a ticket to the VIP area.