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The Fourth of July is almost two months away, but there are already partisan fireworks exploding in Washington.
At least one Democrat is objecting to plans to alter long-standing routines, particularly to the possibility that President Donald Trump will address the nation from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, according to The Washington Post.
Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum of Minnesota, chair of the House Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, said Trump’s participation could polarize the nation.
“It’s not about any one president. It’s about how our nation came to be, because of a hardy band of brave men and women,” McCollum said.
“It’s not about any one person, it’s about ‘We, the people.’ And if the president moves to make this about him, I think he will find the American public disappointed and angered by it,” she said.
The Post report, which was published Friday, drew heavily upon sources it did not name to describe Trump’s heavy involvement in planning the event. According to the report, Trump’s address — first mentioned as a possibility in a tweet February.
HOLD THE DATE! We will be having one of the biggest gatherings in the history of Washington, D.C., on July 4th. It will be called “A Salute To America” and will be held at the Lincoln Memorial. Major fireworks display, entertainment and an address by your favorite President, me!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 24, 2019
At the time of Trump’s announcement, his idea was received coolly by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.
“Planning for that to make sure that all the participants are safe down on The Mall is not something that you can wing, it has to be planned and planned well, and moving the President during that could be a very considerable undertaking for our MPD, which would pull them off the already large crowds that we have,” she said, according to WTTG.
The Post report said the administration wants to move the annual fireworks display from the National Mall to West Potomac Park along the Potomac River.
In addition to the traditional concert at the West Lawn of the Capitol, there might be other entertainment at another venue in the event, which is being called “A Salute to America.”
Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, whose office has overall responsibility for the event, was optimistic about what Americans can expect.
“I think the president is excited about the idea, and we’re working hard on it, and I think it could be very, very meaningful. The president loves the idea, as probably all Americans do, of celebrating America on the Fourth of July, or thereabouts,” he said.
Changing the site where fireworks are launched would result in what Bernhardt termed “a significant expansion of space that’s available to watch the fireworks from the Mall.”
“And we might even have some more surprises in store for the public, very very soon,” he said.
Trump has been proposing a major parade in Washington during one of America’s patriotic holidays ever since he participated in a Bastille Day parade in France in 2017, but the idea was dropped once it was estimated to cost $92 million, Fox News reported.