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Westlake Legal Group > Washington DC

Federal Appeals Court Rules for Trump in Emoluments Case

Westlake Legal Group 10dc-emoluments-facebookJumbo Federal Appeals Court Rules for Trump in Emoluments Case washington dc Trump, Donald J Suits and Litigation (Civil) Democratic Party Constitution (US)

WASHINGTON — In a legal victory for President Trump, a federal appeals court panel on Wednesday ordered the dismissal of a lawsuit alleging that profits earned by his Washington hotel while he is in office violate the Constitution.

A three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., found that the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia had no legal standing to sue Mr. Trump.

The judges said that the complaint was extraordinary and of national significance, justifying their intervention at an early stage in the case, before evidence-gathering begins.

Attorneys general for Maryland and the District of Columbia alleged that evidence would show that Mr. Trump had violated anti-corruption clauses of the Constitution that restrict the ability of federal officials to obtain financial benefits or “emoluments” from state or foreign governments.

“The District and Maryland’s interest in enforcing the Emoluments Clauses is so attenuated and abstract that their prosecution of this case readily provokes the question of whether this action against the President is an appropriate use of the courts,” the panel wrote in its decision.

The suit brought by Maryland and the District of Columbia is one of two challenging Mr. Trump’s ability to profit from his hotel while in office. The other case, brought by Democrats in Congress, is continuing, although the administration is fighting that one as well.

Mr. Trump quickly expressed satisfaction with Wednesday’s appeals court decision.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Two Americas, Celebrating Separately in One Place

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_157492479_10e2e0d7-20f5-4355-a0a7-2745004ebd29-articleLarge Two Americas, Celebrating Separately in One Place washington dc United States Politics and Government United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Speeches and Statements Military Aircraft Independence Day (US) (July 4) Fireworks Demonstrations, Protests and Riots

The Navy’s Blue Angels soared over the Lincoln Memorial on Thursday at the conclusion of President Trump’s speech.CreditGabriella Demczuk for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Most days the National Mall, a two-mile grassy expanse with the Capitol on its east end and the Lincoln Memorial on the west, is home to Frisbee players, museumgoers and joggers. On the Fourth of July, it hosted two distinct versions of America.

On the Capitol side Thursday afternoon, a smattering of mostly local residents, some carrying picnic hampers, waited in the humid weather for the traditional Independence Day concert featuring singer-songwriter Carole King, the National Symphony Orchestra, a special guest appearance by the Muppets and fireworks at nightfall.

On the Lincoln Memorial side, a raucous crowd of President Trump’s faithful, wearing red hats and plastic rain ponchos, pushing strollers, leaning on canes, and lugging lawn chairs, Chihuahuas and at least one Great Dane, began arriving more than six hours before Mr. Trump’s scheduled speech.

The first lady, Melania Trump, with Mr. Trump before his speech.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

Dodging thundershowers, they pitched tents and blanket encampments inside a muddy, cyclone-fenced enclosure in the shadow of the Jumbotron, chanting “U.S.A.!” and “Four more years!” as they awaited the president’s words.

“There must be a million of us,” said Ron Beauchemin, 53, hyperbolizing as he swept his eyes over the crowd streaming through security, and lined up 90 deep at a nearby hot-dog stand.

Mr. Beauchemin and his wife, Crystal, 56, who own a moving business, had come up from Sarasota, Fla., for the weekend, accompanied by Darlene Izzo, a 53-year-old accountant from Sanibel Island, whom they had met at a Trump rally.

“God sent Darlene to me,” Ms. Beauchemin said. The trio had chipped in on a $25 Chick-fil-A gift card for Mr. Trump, and planned to deliver it during a White House tour they had booked for Friday. “He likes burgers and fast food,” Mr. Beauchemin said.

Supporters of Mr. Trump watched a flyover.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times Two F-22 Raptor fighters flanked a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber during a flyover.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times
An M2A3 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle sat near the stage as the president spoke.CreditGabriella Demczuk for The New York Times Military personal surrounded the National Mall.CreditSamuel Corum for The New York Times

“I have three sons in the Marines, and I wanted to bring my grandchildren to the White House,” Ms. Beauchemin said. But she left them at home, afraid of anti-Trump demonstrators “hitting people with crowbars and throwing cement on them,” she said.

Crowbars and cement were absent from Thursday’s festivities. The giant “Trump baby” balloon made only intermittent appearances, partly grounded by rain.

In the middle of the Mall, at the Smithsonian Metro stop, people disembarked from the subway and headed either east to the symphony band shell, or west to the Jumbotron and MAGA encampment.

In the dead center of this demilitarized zone stood the Frisch family.

“We’re just here for the dinosaurs,” said Kyle Frisch, 32, wandering with his brother Kevin, 27, toward the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History flanking the Mall.

Kyle Wells helped tie a flag on his son, Jason, in support of Mr. Trump.CreditMelissa Lyttle for The New York Times

They were visiting their father, Neil Frisch, and were in Washington for a long weekend that began with a Rolling Stones concert. They planned to avoid Mr. Trump’s speech, and watch the fireworks from Mr. Frisch’s waterfront rooftop.

“To me politics is all kids playing in a sandbox,” Neil Frisch said. “I wish they’d get some things done.”

A man who would identify himself only as Jay was also there, and confessed that Thursday on the Mall was “the first time I’ve ever seen a MAGA hat up close.”

“I live in a kind of liberal bubble,” in College Park, Md., he said. He was downtown for a screening of “Echo in the Canyon,” about the 1960s music scene in Los Angeles. “I thought I’d take a picture of the tanks just to show how bizarre the world has gotten. But I don’t want to get into any fights,” he said, moving toward the Metro.

Anti-Trump demonstrators with the “Trump baby” balloon.CreditMichael A. McCoy for The New York Times Trump supporters argued with opponents.CreditMichael A. McCoy for The New York Times
A decorated float in support of Mr. Trump.CreditMelissa Lyttle for The New York Times A protest of the use of the military vehicles during the event.CreditMichael A. McCoy for The New York Times

Moving east toward the band shell, the Mall was mostly empty Thursday afternoon, except for a group of girls taking photos of one another holding miniature versions of the Trump baby balloon, and a woman carried a placard reading “Fight Ignorance, Not Immigrants” under her arm.

The Correa family, from the Washington suburb of Gaithersburg, Md., was celebrating daughter Kenzie’s fifth birthday with a Smithsonian visit and carousel ride. “It would be really cool” for son Logan, 15 months, to see the tanks outside the Lincoln Memorial, said his mother, Nikki Correa. But instead the family was headed home. Mr. Trump’s salute to America “honestly is a complete embarrassment,” she said.

Back on the Trump side, the crowd gradually thickened, converging at the Washington Monument into a sea of people wearing Trump paraphernalia. A heavily tattooed man pushed a shopping cart, selling banners with a full-color photo of Mr. Trump and the slogan “A Hero Will Rise.”

Anti-Trump demonstrators burned an American flag in front of the White House, setting off a brawl that involved more than a dozen people.CreditEric Thayer/Reuters

A man in a Superman T-shirt carried a sign reading “Are You Good Enough to Go to Heaven?” A family purchased matching “Keep America Great” T-shirts from a sidewalk vendor: “That’s what they’re changing it to, kids!” a woman told two children. “Make America Great Again, Keep America Great. 2020!”

A middle-age man blitzed past on a scooter and shouted, “This city is in desperate need of Jesus!”

The Beauchemins and Ms. Izzo were standing between the flag salesman and a bottled-water vendor, looking for directions to the rally. Ms. Izzo wore a MAGA T-shirt and a shawl resembling an American flag with armholes; her toenails were painted in stars and stripes. Ms. Beauchemin wore a commemorative “Salute to America” T-shirt and red, white and blue Mardi Gras beads; Mr. Beauchemin wore a black-and-white “Trump 2020” tank top with a sketch of the president’s face.

Helped by a bystander, they made it through security as the rain started, passing a likeness of Mr. Trump sitting on a golden toilet and holding a cellphone as a recording played his voice saying, “No collusion.”

Floats and balloons being prepared before the National Independence Day Parade.CreditMelissa Lyttle for The New York Times

“Why do they hate him so much?” Ms. Beauchemin said. “Look at that disrespect. Nobody has ever been so disrespectful of a president.”

“Umbrellas down!” people shouted, as the Marine band played on the Jumbotron, and children pressed up against the fencing to see. “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!”

More and more people, most of them white, squeezed into the enclosure. A man hoisted two little boys wearing flag-printed shirts onto his shoulders. “Look at them,” Ms. Beauchemin said. “That’s America.”

This rally “is not about politics,” she said. “It’s about our country.”

Lola Fadulu and John Ismay contributed reporting.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Two Americas, Celebrating Separately in One Place

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_157492479_10e2e0d7-20f5-4355-a0a7-2745004ebd29-articleLarge Two Americas, Celebrating Separately in One Place washington dc United States Politics and Government United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Speeches and Statements Military Aircraft Independence Day (US) (July 4) Fireworks Demonstrations, Protests and Riots

The Navy’s Blue Angels soared over the Lincoln Memorial on Thursday at the conclusion President Trump’s speech.CreditGabriella Demczuk for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Most days the National Mall, a two-mile grassy expanse with the Capitol on its east end and the Lincoln Memorial on the west, is home to Frisbee players, museumgoers and joggers. On the Fourth of July, it hosted two distinct versions of America.

On the Capitol side Thursday afternoon, a smattering of mostly local residents, some carrying picnic hampers, waited in the humid weather for the traditional Independence Day concert featuring singer-songwriter Carole King, the National Symphony Orchestra, a special guest appearance by the Muppets and fireworks at nightfall.

On the Lincoln Memorial side, a raucous crowd of President Trump’s faithful, wearing red hats and plastic rain ponchos, pushing strollers, leaning on canes, and lugging lawn chairs, Chihuahuas and at least one Great Dane, began arriving more than six hours before Mr. Trump’s scheduled speech.

The first lady, Melania Trump, with Mr. Trump before his speech.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

Dodging thundershowers, they pitched tents and blanket encampments inside a muddy, cyclone-fenced enclosure in the shadow of the Jumbotron, chanting “U.S.A.!” and “Four more years!” as they awaited the president’s words.

“There must be a million of us,” said Ron Beauchemin, 53, hyperbolizing as he swept his eyes over the crowd streaming through security, and lined up 90 deep at a nearby hot-dog stand.

Mr. Beauchemin and his wife, Crystal, 56, who own a moving business, had come up from Sarasota, Fla., for the weekend, accompanied by Darlene Izzo, a 53-year-old accountant from Sanibel Island, whom they had met at a Trump rally.

“God sent Darlene to me,” Ms. Beauchemin said. The trio had chipped in on a $25 Chick-fil-A gift card for Mr. Trump, and planned to deliver it during a White House tour they had booked for Friday. “He likes burgers and fast food,” Mr. Beauchemin said.

Supporters of Mr. Trump watched a flyover.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times Two F-22 Raptor fighters flanked a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber during a flyover.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times
An M2A3 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle sat near the stage as the president spoke.CreditGabriella Demczuk for The New York Times Military personal surrounded the National Mall.CreditSamuel Corum for The New York Times

“I have three sons in the Marines, and I wanted to bring my grandchildren to the White House,” Ms. Beauchemin said. But she left them at home, afraid of anti-Trump demonstrators “hitting people with crowbars and throwing cement on them,” she said.

Crowbars and cement were absent from Thursday’s festivities. The giant “Trump baby” balloon made only intermittent appearances, partly grounded by rain.

In the middle of the Mall, at the Smithsonian Metro stop, people disembarked from the subway and headed either east to the symphony band shell, or west to the Jumbotron and MAGA encampment.

In the dead center of this demilitarized zone stood the Frisch family.

“We’re just here for the dinosaurs,” said Kyle Frisch, 32, wandering with his brother Kevin, 27, toward the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History flanking the Mall.

Kyle Wells helped tie a flag on his son, Jason, in support of Mr. Trump.CreditMelissa Lyttle for The New York Times

They were visiting their father, Neil Frisch, and were in Washington for a long weekend that began with a Rolling Stones concert. They planned to avoid Mr. Trump’s speech, and watch the fireworks from Mr. Frisch’s waterfront rooftop.

“To me politics is all kids playing in a sandbox,” Neil Frisch said. “I wish they’d get some things done.”

A man who would identify himself only as Jay was also there, and confessed that Thursday on the Mall was “the first time I’ve ever seen a MAGA hat up close.”

“I live in a kind of liberal bubble,” in College Park, Md., he said. He was downtown for a screening of “Echo in the Canyon,” about the 1960s music scene in Los Angeles. “I thought I’d take a picture of the tanks just to show how bizarre the world has gotten. But I don’t want to get into any fights,” he said, moving toward the Metro.

Anti-Trump demonstrators with the “Trump baby” balloon.CreditMichael A. McCoy for The New York Times A protest of the use of the military vehicles during the event.CreditMichael A. McCoy for The New York Times
A decorated float in support of Mr. Trump.CreditMelissa Lyttle for The New York Times Trump supporters argued with opponents.CreditMichael A. McCoy for The New York Times

Moving east toward the band shell, the Mall was mostly empty Thursday afternoon, except for a group of girls taking photos of one another holding miniature versions of the Trump baby balloon, and a woman carried a placard reading “Fight Ignorance, Not Immigrants” under her arm.

The Correa family, from the Washington suburb of Gaithersburg, Md., was celebrating daughter Kenzie’s fifth birthday with a Smithsonian visit and carousel ride. “It would be really cool” for son Logan, 15 months, to see the tanks outside the Lincoln Memorial, said his mother, Nikki Correa. But instead the family was headed home. Mr. Trump’s salute to America “honestly is a complete embarrassment,” she said.

Back on the Trump side, the crowd gradually thickened, converging at the Washington Monument into a sea of people wearing Trump paraphernalia. A heavily tattooed man pushed a shopping cart, selling banners with a full-color photo of Mr. Trump and the slogan “A Hero Will Rise.”

Anti-Trump demonstrators burned an American flag in front of the White House, setting off a brawl that involved more than a dozen people.CreditEric Thayer/Reuters

A man in a Superman T-shirt carried a sign reading “Are You Good Enough to Go to Heaven?” A family purchased matching “Keep America Great” T-shirts from a sidewalk vendor: “That’s what they’re changing it to, kids!” a woman told two children. “Make America Great Again, Keep America Great. 2020!”

A middle-age man blitzed past on a scooter and shouted, “This city is in desperate need of Jesus!”

The Beauchemins and Ms. Izzo were standing between the flag salesman and a bottled-water vendor, looking for directions to the rally. Ms. Izzo wore a MAGA T-shirt and a shawl resembling an American flag with armholes; her toenails were painted in stars and stripes. Ms. Beauchemin wore a commemorative “Salute to America” T-shirt and red, white and blue Mardi Gras beads; Mr. Beauchemin wore a black-and-white “Trump 2020” tank top with a sketch of the president’s face.

Helped by a bystander, they made it through security as the rain started, passing a likeness of Mr. Trump sitting on a golden toilet and holding a cellphone as a recording played his voice saying, “No collusion.”

Floats and balloons being prepared before the National Independence Day Parade.CreditMelissa Lyttle for The New York Times

“Why do they hate him so much?” Ms. Beauchemin said. “Look at that disrespect. Nobody has ever been so disrespectful of a president.”

“Umbrellas down!” people shouted, as the Marine band played on the Jumbotron, and children pressed up against the fencing to see. “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!”

More and more people, most of them white, squeezed into the enclosure. A man hoisted two little boys wearing flag-printed shirts onto his shoulders. “Look at them,” Ms. Beauchemin said. “That’s America.”

This rally “is not about politics,” she said. “It’s about our country.”

Lola Fadulu and John Ismay contributed reporting.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

In Iowa, Kamala Harris Calls Joe Biden’s Past Views on Busing ‘Wrong’

INDEPENDENCE, Iowa — Joseph R. Biden Jr. expressed frustration Thursday at Senator Kamala Harris’s pointed criticism about his 1970s-era opposition to busing, arguing that Democrats should “be talking about the future.” But he resisted the opportunity to return fire at Ms. Harris for voicing a position similar to his on school integration.

One day after she said local school districts should determine whether to bus students, effectively the argument Mr. Biden had made in the face of Ms. Harris’s attack at a debate last week, the former vice president simply said that she was “absolutely right.”

As he addressed reporters after jogging through a July 4 parade on a steamy morning in Independence, Iowa, Mr. Biden called Ms. Harris, who has jumped in the polls since her debate performance, “a good person, smart as she can be.”

He also repeatedly made clear that he was irritated at being targeted for positions he had held more than four decades ago.

[Sign up for our newsletter, On Politics With Lisa Lerer, and join the conversation around the 2020 race.]

“This is kind of a new thing, you know we’re going back 40 or 50 years now to a vote,” he said, vowing that he would not take on his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination in a similar way. “I’m not going to go back and talk about the record of anyone from 10, 20, 30 years ago,” Mr. Biden said, adding that “everything is lost in context.”

Ms. Harris has surged with African-American voters, a crucial constituency for Mr. Biden, since her performance at the debate. He bridled at the suggestion that he should show contrition for opposing federally mandated busing — he once called the approach “asinine” — during his tenure as a senator from Delaware. “I don’t have to atone,” he said. “Look, my record stands for itself.”

Mr. Biden made the case to “move on and talk about what we do now,” but he may have handed new fodder to his critics on the left. His comments minimized busing, an issue that still lingers for many Americans who experienced the mandated integration practice or whose children attend schools that are de facto segregated by race.

“Busing is something 99 percent of the American people don’t even know what we’re talking about,” he argued.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_157436034_92fedcd6-9c5b-4dd8-ac6c-7da9289be875-articleLarge In Iowa, Kamala Harris Calls Joe Biden’s Past Views on Busing ‘Wrong’ washington dc United States Politics and Government Presidential Election of 2020 Iowa Harris, Kamala D Democratic Party Biden, Joseph R Jr

Senator Kamala Harris spoke with voters at a picnic in West Des Moines, Iowa, on Wednesday.CreditHilary Swift for The New York Times

Mr. Biden said he was satisfied with his debate performance, which was widely criticized. He dismissed several polls taken in the aftermath of the back-to-back forums that show his once-solid lead evaporating.

“I’m still way ahead,” he said.

Mr. Biden is not the only candidate struggling with how to talk about school integration. After Ms. Harris found success confronting the former vice president on busing, she has appeared uncertain how to characterize her own views on the matter.

Before addressing a July 4 house party in a sweltering backyard in Indianola, Iowa, Ms. Harris insisted that she and Mr. Biden did not share the same position on federally mandated busing. She then attempted to focus the conversation in the past rather than the present.

“I have asked him and have yet to hear him agree that busing that was court-ordered and mandated in most places and in that era in which I was bused, was necessary,” Ms. Harris said of her childhood in Berkeley, Calif., in the late 1960s and 1970s. “He has yet to agree that his position on this, which was to work with segregationists and oppose busing, was wrong.”

Ms. Harris was asked to explain what she meant when she said Wednesday that busing should be part of “the toolbox” to address desegregating schools, which would be distinct from a federal mandate. She suggested that the environment around civil rights is different today from when she was a student, though she said she supported school districts and municipalities doing “whatever they need to do” on integration measures.

This is not the first issue on which Ms. Harris has muddled her response — she has also struggled to articulate whether she thinks private health care should be eliminated — but the California senator dismissed questions about her consistency.

“I have not changed my position,” she said. “So, we can talk about other issues if you’d like.”

After Ms. Harris took questions from reporters, she received an enthusiastic reception as she addressed a crowd from a back porch overlooking a backyard and Iowa fields.

Several voters shrugged off the busing controversies, suggesting that it was not a major issue as they assessed the race.

“I feel everyone has something in their past,” said Ashley Raske, an African-American woman from Des Moines who said she was considering Ms. Harris and Mr. Biden as top choices. “I’m looking a lot at what they stand for now, how they’re going to serve my family and the American people.”

But the exchanges around busing prolonged the most combative period of the Democratic primary to date. In the days after the debate, several of Mr. Biden’s allies and aides said privately that they were surprised by Ms. Harris’s criticisms of Mr. Biden’s civil rights record. Some even said they found her words hurtful.

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont marched in an Independence Day parade in Ames, Iowa.CreditHilary Swift for The New York Times

On Thursday, Ms. Harris said that Mr. Biden could not have been too surprised to be questioned about his record after his praise last month for a Senate that included notorious segregationists.

“That was the subject of conversation for days at end,” she said. “So you know if he and his team weren’t prepared for the topic I don’t know what to say about that.”

But the senator plainly does not want to revive the issue as a matter of policy today.

Returning to Iowa for the first time since she vaulted into the top tier of the race, Ms. Harris made no mention of the former vice president in her stump speech, instead unveiling a new line of attack on President Trump.

“We have a predator living in the White House,” she told Democrats in Indianola.

Mr. Biden was similarly disinclined to focus on the issue on Thursday. After the parade, he delivered an Independence Day-themed speech in Marshalltown. Reading from prepared remarks in a teleprompter, Mr. Biden hailed America, summoned the words of past presidents and flayed the incumbent.

Recalling that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had crowed that Western liberalism was becoming obsolete, Mr. Biden prompted groans in a friendly crowd when he noted that Mr. Trump thought Mr. Putin was alluding to California-style progressive politics.

“Not a joke,” Mr. Biden said, “our president doesn’t understand the difference between liberals as opposed to conservatives in our political context and liberal as opposed to autocratic systems of government.”

Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris were hardly the only Democrats in Iowa for July 4. Former Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas joined Mr. Biden for the parade in Independence, which was filled with fire trucks, beauty queens and a few supporters of Mr. Trump who shouted their enthusiasm for the president when volunteers for Democrats chanted their candidates’ names.

Biden supporters distributed Tootsie Rolls and Dubble Bubble, and Mr. Biden sweated through his polo shirt as he wandered from side to side of a parade in the blue-collar eastern Iowa village.

When he eyed three women sporting Biden lapel stickers and standing in the bed of a truck on the side of the parade route, he jokingly yelled: “Don’t jump, I need you!” That was shortly before he cradled a 4-month-old baby and pretended to walk away from the infant’s mother.

After the parade, as Mr. Biden soberly addressed questions about integration and race in America, he could not fully escape the holiday’s festivities.

The holiday parades in Iowa were a sharp contrast to the one unfolding in Washington, where President Trump had ordered up a military-style event complete with tanks and fighter jets.CreditHilary Swift for The New York Times

“I’ve always supported voluntary busing,” he explained, moments before the sound of a teenage girl’s voice pierced the air. “It’s Joe Biden!” she said.

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont also hit the parade circuit, beginning his day in Slater, Iowa, about half an hour from Des Moines.

The scene was a sharp contrast to the one unfolding in Washington, where Mr. Trump had ordered up a military-style event complete with tanks and fighter jets.

In Slater, there was a yellow truck representing the Story County Democrats, bearing a multicolored sign reading “love is love.” Girl Scouts congregated around a pickup truck.

Mr. Sanders arrived at the parade in sneakers and walked through the town and leafy side streets, waving and belting out, “Hello!”

He occasionally took pictures or shook hands, but generally stayed in the middle of the street as more than two dozen activists and people associated with his campaign followed behind, chanting progressive slogans such as “We don’t need no super PAC! Bernie Sanders got our back!”

One man, who declined to give his name to a reporter, insisted that his young daughter remove a Sanders sticker she had received.

“I’ll give her 100 stickers if she takes it off,” he said. “And I’ll pay for it myself with my own money I earn.”

In Ames, Iowa, home to Iowa State University, Mr. Sanders got a more robust reception as he marched down Main Street, which was dotted with American flags.

He moved rapidly through the parade, stopping to take pictures, though he clearly did not want to linger. “Very quickly,” he said, in response to a selfie request.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Scenes From Trump’s Fourth of July Celebration

Thousands of people braved scorching, humid weather as they poured into Washington for Fourth of July festivities on Thursday, celebrating the nation’s birthday among the monuments and memorials to its history.

But this year’s celebration also promised to be stamped with President Trump’s personal brand. Jumbotron screens were ready to display his remarks for the crowd in the evening. And tanks and other fighting vehicles stood on display, even if few people could clearly see them.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_157484751_8b9ef8c0-0938-4a9f-aaba-4380c4abea55-articleLarge Scenes From Trump’s Fourth of July Celebration washington dc United States Politics and Government United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Speeches and Statements Military Aircraft Independence Day (US) (July 4) Fireworks Demonstrations, Protests and Riots

A group of President Trump’s supporters argue with a group of protesters on the National Mall in Washington today.CreditMichael A. McCoy for The New York Times

Inside the secure area near the Lincoln Memorial, where Mr. Trump plans to hold his “Salute to America,” several thousand people — many wearing “Make America Great Again” hats and decked in red, white and blue — had camped out several hours ahead of the president’s speech.

One woman wore a “I’m a Trump Deplorable” T-shirt, followed not far behind by a man in a “Veterans for Trump” shirt. A man wearing a shirt that said “Vote Democrat: Make America a Third World Country” walked through the crowd yelling about the end of the democracy. A lone Trump opponent walked quietly with a sign that said “Dump Trump.”

Outside of the secure area, on the other end of the National Mall, where PBS will be holding its annual Fourth of July concert — a separate event from the president’s rally — there appeared to be far fewer Trump supporters. The president’s red MAGA hats were hard to find, and Trump 2020 T-shirts were nowhere to be found.

— Michael D. Shear

Mr. Trump planned to focus on unity in his remarks on Thursday evening, according to excerpts released by the White House.

“As we gather this evening in the joy of freedom, we remember that we ALL share a truly extraordinary heritage,” Mr. Trump planned to say. “Together, we are part of one of the greatest stories ever told — the story of AMERICA.”

Aides to the president had said in recent days that Mr. Trump would stick to a script focused on patriotism for all Americans while he honored the bravery of the military, interrupted by dramatic flyovers of military aircraft and one of the planes that serve as Air Force One. The excerpts released ahead of the speech suggest that is what he will do.

“We celebrate our history, our people, and the heroes who proudly defend our flag — the brave men and women of the United States military,” the president will say, according to the excerpts.

But Mr. Trump is infamous for refusing to stay on message, especially when delivering speeches in front of enthusiastic supporters. The remarks that Mr. Trump actually delivers could differ significantly from the prepared remarks.

— Michael D. Shear

A group on the National Mall used ponchos to stay dry as storms rolled in during the afternoon.CreditGabriella Demczuk for The New York Times

Anyone who has lived in Washington knows what the weather is like on a typical July day. This day turned out not to be any different: steamy and hot in the morning, followed by periods of storms.

Around 3:30 p.m., crowds sought shelter as rain rolled in. Around 4:30, thunder rumbled as a rain that had slackened into a drizzle gained strength again. And forecasts suggested a continuing chance of thunderstorms in the evening, when Mr. Trump is to take the stage in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

If low clouds or high winds force the Pentagon to call off the flyovers by the military aircraft, that would leave the president with a soggy speech devoid of the dramatic moments he so craves.

— Michael D. Shear

It’s hard not to be impressed by the military might of the United States armed forces, and organizers were trying to assemble a display to match.

For those on the ground, the main attractions were supposed to be the two M1A2 Abrams tanks, not far from the Lincoln Memorial, and the M2A3 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles in front of the presidential stage. But if the president’s supporters were hoping to catch a glimpse of them, they were disappointed. The vehicles appeared to be inside the V.I.P. section behind a chain-link fence.

In the air, fighter jets will include the F-35 stealth fighter and the Navy’s Blue Angels, who will perform in the sky. And one of the Boeing VC-25s that usually serve as the presidential aircraft is set to roar over the National Mall.

Mr. Trump’s speech is also set to include military leaders, though not everyone he requested will be there. The Pentagon was given only a few days’ notice that Trump wanted by his side all the Joint Chiefs of Staff and all the service secretaries.

Most of the Joint Chiefs were on leave or on travel. Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel of the Air Force, the head of the National Guard Bureau, had a long-scheduled trip to the Middle East that was on, then off, then on again as of Wednesday. Another National Guard general was tapped to attend.

Of the other chiefs, only Adm. Karl Schultz, the Coast Guard commandant, is joining Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the Joint Chiefs. The others are on travel or on leave, and are sending deputies in their stead.

— Michael D. Shear and Eric Schmitt

A military vehicle near the Lincoln Memorial in preparation for Mr. Trump’s speech.CreditGabriella Demczuk for The New York Times

Sitting in the area reserved for military personnel and their families near where Mr. Trump will speak was Daniel P. Cortez, 68, of Stafford, Va. Mr. Cortez, who was wounded in Vietnam as a Marine infantryman, was invited by the White House.

He works to help veterans deal with judicial issues resulting from war trauma, and is trying to help pass legislation to assist veterans who have run afoul or the law and put them in front of “compassionate judges” in court. The veterans must complete treatment for things like alcohol abuse or anger management before being eligible, and have the endorsement of a mentor.

“I’m not a Republican. I’m an independent,” Mr. Cortez said. “But when the White House calls, I’m not going to pass up a seat at an event like this.”

“Patriots should go to any White House. I’m honored to go.”

— John Ismay

A birthday cake float for America passing the National Archives during the Independence Day parade.CreditMelissa Lyttle for The New York Times

President Trump has a way of drawing attention from everything else. But three other unrelated Fourth of July events are taking place in the nation’s capital on Thursday.

The traditional parade proceeded down Constitution Avenue several hours before Mr. Trump’s arrival. It consisted of marching bands, floats, giant balloons, drill teams and military units.

At the west lawn in front of the Capitol, PBS will present “A Capitol Fourth,” a concert that has taken place for years, at 8 p.m. Organizers went out of their way to say that their event had nothing to do with the president’s rally at the other end of the Washington Mall, about two miles down the road.

After the concert, fireworks will explode above the Washington Monument, well after Mr. Trump’s event is over.

— Michael D. Shear

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Scenes of Trump’s Fourth of July Celebration

Thousands of people braved scorching, humid weather as they poured into Washington for Fourth of July festivities on Thursday, celebrating the nation’s birthday among the monuments and memorials to its history.

But this year’s celebration also promised to be stamped with President Trump’s personal brand. JumboTron screens were ready to display his remarks for the crowd in the evening. And tanks and other fighting vehicles stood on display, even if few people could clearly see them.

Inside the secure area near the Lincoln Memorial, where Mr. Trump plans to hold his “Salute to America,” several thousand people — many wearing “Make America Great Again” hats and decked in red, white and blue — had camped out several hours ahead of the president’s speech.

One woman wore a “I’m a Trump Deplorable” T-shirt, followed not far behind by a man in a “Veterans for Trump” shirt. A man wearing a shirt that said “Vote Democrat: Make America a Third World Country” walked through the crowd yelling about the end of the democracy. A lone Trump opponent walked quietly with a sign that said “Dump Trump.”

Outside of the secure area, on the other end of the National Mall, where PBS will be holding its annual Fourth of July concert — a separate event from the president’s rally — there appeared to be far fewer Trump supporters. The president’s red MAGA hats were hard to find, and Trump 2020 T-shirts were nowhere to be found.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 04dc-scene-4-articleLarge Scenes of Trump’s Fourth of July Celebration washington dc United States Politics and Government United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Speeches and Statements Military Aircraft Independence Day (US) (July 4) Fireworks Demonstrations, Protests and Riots

A group on the National Mall used ponchos to stay dry as storms rolled in during the afternoon.CreditGabriella Demczuk for The New York Times

Anyone who has lived in Washington knows what the weather is like on a typical July day. This day turned out not to be any different: steamy and hot in the morning, followed by periods of storms.

Around 3:30 p.m., crowds sought shelter as rain rolled in. And forecasts suggested a continuing chance of thunderstorms in the evening, when Mr. Trump is to take the stage in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

If low clouds or high winds force the Pentagon to call off the flyovers by the military aircraft, that would leave the president with a soggy speech devoid of the dramatic moments he so craves.

It’s hard not to be impressed by the military might of the United States armed forces, and organizers were trying to assemble a display to match.

For those on the ground, the main attractions were supposed to be the two M1A2 Abrams tanks, not far from the Lincoln Memorial, and the M2A3 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles in front of the presidential stage. But if the president’s supporters were hoping to catch a glimpse of them, they were disappointed. The vehicles appeared to be inside the V.I.P. section behind a chain-link fence.

In the air, fighter jets will include the F-35 stealth fighter and the Navy’s Blue Angels, who will perform in the sky. And one of the Boeing VC-25s that usually serve as the presidential aircraft is set to roar over the National Mall.

Mr. Trump’s speech is also set to include military leaders, though not everyone he requested will be there. The Pentagon was given only a few days’ notice that Trump wanted by his side all the Joint Chiefs of Staff and all the service secretaries.

Most of the Joint Chiefs were on leave or on travel. Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel of the Air Force, the head of the National Guard Bureau, had a long-scheduled trip to the Middle East that was on, then off, then on again as of Wednesday. Another National Guard general was tapped to attend.

Of the other chiefs, only Adm. Karl Schultz, the Coast Guard commandant, is joining Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the Joint Chiefs. The others are on travel or on leave, and are sending deputies in their stead.

White House officials say President Trump plans a nonpolitical speech that honors the American military and celebrates — on behalf of everyone — the country’s 243rd birthday. He is scheduled to speak for about 20 minutes, interrupted by dramatic flyovers of military aircraft and one of the planes that serve as Air Force One.

But Mr. Trump is hardly known for sticking to the script at his “Make America Great Again” rallies, and he rarely talks for only 20 minutes. Will he treat his Fourth of July address differently? Or will the celebration of Independence Day become a celebration of the Trump administration, filled with the usual boasts and grievances that are becoming the centerpieces of his re-election campaign?

Only his speechwriters know — and even they may be surprised in the end.

A military vehicle near the Lincoln Memorial in preparation for Mr. Trump’s speech.CreditGabriella Demczuk for The New York Times

President Trump has a way of drawing attention from everything else. But three other unrelated Fourth of July events are taking place in the nation’s capital on Thursday.

The traditional parade proceeded down Constitution Avenue several hours before Mr. Trump’s arrival. It consisted of marching bands, floats, giant balloons, drill teams and military units.

At the west lawn in front of the Capitol, PBS will present “A Capitol Fourth,” a concert that has taken place for years, at 8 p.m. Organizers went out of their way to say that their event had nothing to do with the president’s rally at the other end of the Washington Mall, about two miles down the road.

After the concert, fireworks will explode above the Washington Monument, well after Mr. Trump’s event is over.

President Trump loves his crowds.

That was clear after he complained about the reporting that his inauguration crowds were not, in fact, the largest ever. And it’s clear every time he brags about the size of his crowds at rallies around the country.

So pay close attention to the size of the crowd that assembles to watch him deliver his speech. If reporting suggests it is small, Mr. Trump may tweet.

Also keep an eye on the composition of the crowd. Organizers are expecting many Trump supporters wearing the president’s trademark “Make America Great Again” hats. But they are also bracing for the possibility of clashes between Trump supporters and protesters who have already said they will assemble Thursday as well.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris Bring Their Debate Stage Fight to Iowa

INDEPENDENCE, Iowa — Joseph R. Biden Jr. expressed frustration Thursday at Senator Kamala Harris’s pointed criticism about his 1970s-era opposition to busing, arguing that Democrats should “be talking about the future.” But he resisted the opportunity to return fire at Ms. Harris for voicing a position similar to his on school integration.

One day after she said that local school districts should determine whether to bus students, effectively the argument Mr. Biden had made in the face of Ms. Harris’s attack at last week’s debate, the former vice president simply said that she was “absolutely right.”

Mr. Biden called Ms. Harris, who has jumped in the polls since her debate performance, “a good person, smart as she can be.”

But as he addressed reporters after jogging through a July 4 parade on a steamy morning here, Mr. Biden repeatedly made clear that he was irritated at being targeted for positions he had held more than four decades ago.

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“This is kind of a new thing, you know we’re going back 40 or 50 years now to a vote,” he said, vowing that he would not take on his Democratic rivals in a similar way. “I’m not going to go back and talk about the record of anyone from 10, 20, 30 years ago,” Mr. Biden said, adding that “everything is lost in context.”

Ms. Harris has surged with African-American voters, a crucial constituency for Mr. Biden, since her performance at the debate. He bridled at the suggestion that he should show contrition for opposing federally mandated busing — he once called the approach “asinine” — during his tenure as a senator from Delaware. “I don’t have to atone,” he said. “Look, my record stands for itself.”

Mr. Biden made the case to “move on and talk about what we do now,” but he may have handed new fodder to his critics on the left. His comments minimized busing, an issue that still lingers for many Americans who experienced the mandated integration practice or whose children attend schools that are de facto segregated by race.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_157436034_92fedcd6-9c5b-4dd8-ac6c-7da9289be875-articleLarge Joe Biden and Kamala Harris Bring Their Debate Stage Fight to Iowa washington dc United States Politics and Government Presidential Election of 2020 Iowa Harris, Kamala D Democratic Party Biden, Joseph R Jr

Senator Kamala Harris spoke with voters at a picnic in West Des Moines, Iowa, on Wednesday.CreditHilary Swift for The New York Times

“Busing is something 99 percent of the American people don’t even know what we’re talking about,” he argued.

Mr. Biden said he was satisfied with his debate performance, which was widely criticized. He dismissed several polls taken in the aftermath of the back-to-back forums that show his once solid lead evaporating.

“I’m still way ahead,” he said.

But Mr. Biden is not the only candidate struggling with how to talk about school integration. After Ms. Harris found success confronting him on busing, she has appeared uncertain about how to characterize her own views on the matter.

At a Democratic picnic outside Des Moines on Wednesday, Ms. Harris was pressed by reporters to explain whether she supports federally mandated busing, and she appeared to indicate the decision should be in the hands of localities.

“I believe that any tool that is in the toolbox should be considered by a school district,” she said.

In the days after the debate, a number of Mr. Biden’s allies and aides said privately that they were surprised by Ms. Harris’s criticisms of Mr. Biden’s civil rights record. Some even said they found her words hurtful.

Asked to respond to that, she said Wednesday that she stood by her concern that voters needed to hear the full context of “who people were in history,” singling out politicians “who built a career on segregation of the races and who worked very hard against busing.” Mr. Biden has previously faced criticism for detailing his working relationship with segregationist senators.

“I don’t think anyone should take personal offense in terms of any supporters, or feel any kind of hurt about talking about that,” she said. “Because the reality is, it happened, and the people most affected are the children of America.”

Ms. Harris’s aides have argued that the discussion on the debate stage that carried over to Iowa this week is about the positions Mr. Biden took in a highly contentious period of the country’s history. But the California senator plainly does not want to revive the issue as a matter of policy today.

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont marched in an Independence Day parade in Ames, Iowa.CreditHilary Swift for The New York Times

Sensing her unease, Mr. Biden’s aides have pounced, prolonging the most combative period of the Democratic primary to date.

“It’s disappointing that Senator Harris chose to distort Vice President Biden’s position on busing — particularly now that she is tying herself in knots trying not to answer the very question she posed to him!” Kate Bedingfield, Mr. Biden’s deputy campaign manager, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday night.

By Thursday afternoon, Ms. Harris’s campaign was invoking Mr. Biden’s reversal on taxpayer-financed abortion.

“Remind me what his position on Hyde was a month ago?” asked Lily Adams, Ms. Harris’s communications director, alluding to Mr. Biden’s newfound support for the Hyde Amendment

Returning to Iowa for the first time since she vaulted into the top tier of the race, Ms. Harris made no mention of the former vice president in her stump speech, instead unveiling a new line of attack on President Trump.

“We have a predator living in the White House,” she told Democrats in West Des Moines on Wednesday.

Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris were hardly the only Democrats in Iowa for July 4th. Beto O’Rourke joined Mr. Biden for the parade in Independence, which was filled with fire trucks, beauty queens and a few supporters of Mr. Trump who voiced their enthusiasm for the president when volunteers for some of the Democrats in the 2020 race chanted their candidates’ names.

Even as Mr. Biden soberly addressed questions about integration and race in America, outside an old train depot, he couldn’t fully escape the Fourth’s festivities.

“I’ve always supported voluntary busing,” he said, moments before a teenage girl’s voice pierced the air. “It’s Joe Biden!” she said.

He turned to the street to see a group of girls riding in the back of a flatbed trailer from the parade being pulled by a truck. “Be careful!” Mr. Biden told them.

The holiday parades in Iowa were a sharp contrast to the one unfolding in Washington, where President Trump had ordered up a military-style event complete with tanks and fighter jets.CreditHilary Swift for The New York Times

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont also hit the parade circuit, beginning his day in Slater, Iowa, about half an hour from Des Moines.

The scene was a sharp contrast to the one unfolding in Washington, where President Trump had ordered up a military-style event complete with tanks and fighter jets.

In Slater, a yellow truck representing the Story County Democrats, bore a multicolored sign that read, “love is love.” Girl Scouts congregated around a pickup truck.

Mr. Sanders arrived at the parade in sneakers and walked through the town and leafy side streets, waving and belting out, “Hello!”

He occasionally took pictures or shook hands, but generally stayed in the middle of the street as more than two dozen activists and people associated with his campaign followed, chanting progressive slogans such as, “We don’t need no super PAC! Bernie Sanders got our back!”

The parade observers who lined the sidewalks, watching from driveways or reclining in lawn chairs, appeared of mixed political views. Cries of “socialist! socialist!” mingled with chants of “feel the Bern!” and “Trump!”

One man, who declined to give his name to a reporter, insisted that his young daughter remove a Sanders sticker she had received.

“I’ll give her 100 stickers if she takes it off,” he said. “And I’ll pay for it myself with my own money I earn.”

In Ames, Iowa, home to Iowa State University, Mr. Sanders got a more robust reception as he marched down Main Street, which was dotted with American flags.

He moved rapidly through the parade, stopping to take pictures, though he clearly didn’t want to linger. “Very quickly,” he said, in response to a selfie request.

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What to Expect Ahead of Trump’s Fourth of July Celebration

Westlake Legal Group merlin_157429896_7dfb1469-c393-410b-be9c-3fe0203c217c-facebookJumbo What to Expect Ahead of Trump’s Fourth of July Celebration washington dc United States Politics and Government United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Speeches and Statements Military Aircraft Independence Day (US) (July 4) Fireworks Demonstrations, Protests and Riots

President Trump is transforming Washington’s traditional Fourth of July celebration into a rally for America stamped with his personal brand, featuring displays of military might and a speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Here’s what to expect:

White House officials say President Trump plans a nonpolitical speech that honors the American military and celebrates — on behalf of everyone — the country’s 243rd birthday. He is scheduled to speak for about 20 minutes, interrupted by dramatic flyovers of military aircraft and one of the planes that serve as Air Force One.

But Mr. Trump is hardly known for sticking to the script at his “Make America Great Again” rallies, and he rarely talks for only 20 minutes. Will he treat his Fourth of July address differently? Or will the celebration of Independence Day become a celebration of the Trump administration, filled with the usual boasts and grievances that are becoming the centerpieces of his re-election campaign?

Only his speechwriters know — and even they may be surprised in the end.

It’s hard not to be impressed by the military might of the United States armed forces, and the display of equipment — on the ground and in the air — is designed to be entertaining.

For those on the ground, the main attractions will be the two M1A2 Abrams tanks, not far from the Lincoln Memorial, and the M2A3 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles in front of the presidential stage.

In the air, fighter jets will include the F-35 stealth fighter and the Navy’s Blue Angels, who will perform in the sky. And one of the Boeing VC-25s that usually serve as the presidential aircraft will roar over the National Mall.

President Trump has a way of drawing attention from everything else. But three other unrelated Fourth of July events are taking place in the nation’s capital on Thursday.

The traditional parade will proceed down Constitution Avenue several hours before Mr. Trump’s arrival. It will consist of marching bands, floats, giant balloons, drill teams and military units.

At the west lawn in front of the Capitol, PBS will present “A Capitol Fourth,” a concert that has taken place for years, at 8 p.m. Organizers went out of their way to say that their event had nothing to do with the president’s rally at the other end of the Washington Mall, about two miles down the road.

After the concert, fireworks will explode above the Washington Monument, well after Mr. Trump’s event is over.

President Trump loves his crowds.

That was clear after he complained about the reporting that his inauguration crowds were not, in fact, the largest ever. And it’s clear every time he brags about the size of his crowds at rallies around the country.

So pay close attention to the size of the crowd that assembles to watch him deliver his speech. If reporting suggests it is small, Mr. Trump may tweet.

Also keep an eye on the composition of the crowd. Organizers are expecting many Trump supporters wearing the president’s trademark “Make America Great Again” hats. But they are also bracing for the possibility of clashes between Trump supporters and protesters who have already said they will assemble Thursday as well.

Anyone who has lived in Washington knows what the weather is like on a typical July day. This year is not likely to be any different: steamy and hot in the morning, followed by intense periods of rain.

Forecasts suggest a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms at just the moment Mr. Trump is to take the stage in front of the Lincoln Memorial. If low clouds or high winds force the Pentagon to call off the flyovers by the military aircraft, that would leave the president with a soggy speech devoid of the dramatic moments he so craves.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Washington Prepares for a July 4 Spectacle, Starring and Produced by President Trump

WASHINGTON — Two Bradley armored vehicles rumbled into place on Wednesday in front of the Lincoln Memorial, to be joined later by two Abrams tanks parked nearby. Cranes were putting into place the scaffolding for Jumbotron screens. And workers raced to finish a red, white and blue stage where President Trump will preside over one of the most unusual Fourth of July celebrations the capital has known.

The audience for Mr. Trump’s speech will include thousands of troops assembled by the White House to create a made-for-television moment in which the nation’s commander in chief is surrounded by the forces that he leads.

Weather permitting, the traditional songs for each branch of the military will be played while their officers stand by the president’s side and a procession of aircraft, including Air Force One and the Blue Angels, roars through the skies overhead. Hundreds of guests, many of them handpicked by the Republican National Committee, will watch from bleachers in a V.I.P. section erected close to the podium.

“It will be the show of a lifetime!” the president posted Wednesday morning on Twitter.

But Mr. Trump’s decision to turn Washington’s annual Fourth of July celebration into a kind of Trump-branded rally for America has drawn criticism from Democrats, top representatives of the city government and many military officials who believe the president is using the troops and their gear as political props.

“Put troops out there so we can thank them — leave tanks for Red Square,” said Gen. Anthony C. Zinni, a retired four-star Marine general and former head of United States Central Command, who until this year served in the Trump administration as a special envoy to help resolve disputes in the Persian Gulf.

Muriel Bowser, Washington’s mayor, said displaying tanks and heavy equipment was “not the American way” of honoring the military.

The Fourth of July in Washington is usually celebrated without participation from the occupant of the Oval Office or any political overtones: with a parade down Constitution Avenue, a concert in front of the Capitol and fireworks over the National Mall, accompanied by the National Symphony Orchestra. Those separate events will continue as planned.

But this year, those traditions ran headfirst into Mr. Trump’s desire to replicate the spectacle of grand military parades in other countries, a vision that he has pursued since 2017, when he watched thousands of soldiers marching down the Champs-Élysées alongside scores of tanks during a Bastille Day celebration in Paris.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_157325991_4677913b-1a34-499d-bae5-2e2d22a1be6f-articleLarge Washington Prepares for a July 4 Spectacle, Starring and Produced by President Trump washington dc United States Politics and Government United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Independence Day (US) (July 4) Defense Department

“The cost of our great Salute to America tomorrow will be very little compared to what it is worth,” President Trump wrote Wednesday on Twitter.CreditPete Marovich for The New York Times

The president, who declared the French event to be one of the “greatest parades I’ve ever seen,” originally wanted a similar show of military might in Washington on Veterans Day, but it was derailed last August after objections by the city’s officials, concerns from the Pentagon and a price tag of more than $90 million.

Instead, Mr. Trump has ordered the last-minute transformation of the traditional activities of Independence Day into what he calls “a celebration of America” and that critics call a celebration of Donald J. Trump.

The White House’s plans — including the over-the-top demonstration of the country’s military prowess — have put the Pentagon in a bind, forcing officials to snap to the orders from their commander in chief while also trying to sidestep the inevitable accusation that they are willingly joining Mr. Trump in politicizing the troops as well as a national holiday.

Loren DeJonge Schulman, a senior Defense Department official during the Obama administration, said Mr. Trump — with the elaborately stage-managed display of military equipment — has inaccurately implied that Pentagon leaders support the parade and its showmanship.

“They owe it to the American people to correct the record,” said Ms. Schulman, now a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. “The parade is clearly about glorifying the president.”

On Wednesday, the Pentagon announced that Acting Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, would join Mr. Trump at the festivities. Many other members of the Joint Chiefs and service secretaries, however, had planned leaves or were on official travel, and were sending deputies in their place.

Mr. Trump had mused about hosting a smaller military-themed parade on Independence Day. But Pentagon brass kept quiet and hoped the idea would go away, according to one Defense Department official, who spoke about the internal discussions on the condition of anonymity.

But in early June, the White House called, and with less than 30 days before July 4, Pentagon officials started drawing up a plan. Two Defense Department officials said the vision for a relatively small contribution from the military was greatly expanded over the past two weeks.

A third official said that the ceremony would cost the military well over $1 million and that many in the Pentagon saw it as a waste of resources and money at a time that the United States faced real threats around the world, like Iran and North Korea.

One million dollars is a tiny sliver of the Defense Department’s annual budget of more than $700 billion, and it is unclear what the president’s salute to the armed forces will cost American taxpayers.

Fencing was installed and preparations for the Fourth of July celebration in Washington were made at the Reflecting Pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial on Wednesday. Tanks, armored vehicles and military jets streaking over the capital are part of President Trump’s vision of a grand military parade.CreditGabriella Demczuk for The New York Times

But critics said that shifting even a small amount of money away from the Pentagon’s primary mission to satisfy the president’s whims was wrong. It has already forced the National Park Service to divert $2.5 million from other park uses, according to a person familiar with the decision. The Washington Post first reported the diversion of funds.

On Wednesday, the president tweeted that what the nation will experience would be worth the price.

“The cost of our great Salute to America tomorrow will be very little compared to what it is worth. We own the planes, we have the pilots, the airport is right next door (Andrews), all we need is the fuel,” he said, referring to the Air Force base near Washington from where the flyover will be staged. “We own the tanks and all. Fireworks are donated by two of the greats. Nice!”

Throughout the day on Wednesday, Park Service employees and nearly three dozen Marines and Army soldiers raced to get ready for the presidential show. Some military units stationed in the capital region had difficulty getting enough troops to carry out the preparations on such short notice because many troops were already on leave for the holiday.

As workers built a staged draped in red, white and blue, audio technicians tested some of the musical playlist: the “Star Wars” theme, “Hail to the Chief,” “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “God Bless the U.S.A.”

Hundreds of yards of cyclone fencing fanned out from the Lincoln Memorial down the National Mall, including several lengths installed across the width of the Reflecting Pool by security guards splashing through knee-deep water.

Pentagon officials said Mr. Trump insisted on including the tanks and armored vehicles in the celebration, prompting a scramble among officials at Fort Stewart in Georgia to move the vehicles to Washington and position them around the memorial instead of parading them down streets and over bridges that would be damaged under the heavy load.

But the two 70-ton Abrams tanks trucked from Fort Stewart were still deemed too heavy to roll onto the delicate apron of the Lincoln Memorial and will remain confined to the asphalt road behind it. Mr. Trump will salute America in sight of the two more diminutive, 30-ton Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, painted in woodland camo, their treads festooned in navy blue drapes.

All of the preparations could be upended, though, if the weather in Washington refuses to cooperate. Forecasts for July 4 predicted the usual hot and steamy start to the day, followed by a more than 50 percent chance of thunderstorms, possibly including lightning. Such storms could cause the Pentagon to call off the flyovers that Mr. Trump wants so badly.

Perhaps anticipating such an outcome, administration officials began pointing fingers at one another and assigning blame in case of disappointing attendance or any other unforeseen complications. Among the major items that was not taken care of over a week ago was the printing of thousands of tickets, people familiar with the planning said.

The White House and the Interior Department each believed the other fell down on the job of the planning. The Defense Department, where several officials consider the military display to be unseemly, was prepared to blame all other departments, an administration official said.

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‘Leave Tanks for Red Square’: Trump’s July 4 Celebration Unsettles Military

Westlake Legal Group 03dc-rally-facebookJumbo ‘Leave Tanks for Red Square’: Trump’s July 4 Celebration Unsettles Military washington dc United States Politics and Government United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Independence Day (US) (July 4) Defense Department

WASHINGTON — With trouble spots from Iran to North Korea, the military’s role in a Fourth of July celebration in Washington should be the least of the Pentagon’s worries.

Yet some retired and active-duty military officers, and, privately, even some Defense Department personnel said the participation of the military in President Trump’s “Salute to America” appears to politicize the armed forces on a day when the nation traditionally toasts its independence in a nonpartisan environment.

“Put troops out there so we can thank them — leave tanks for Red Square,” said Gen. Anthony C. Zinni, a retired four-star Marine general and former head of United States Central Command, who until earlier this year served in the Trump administration as a special envoy to help resolve disputes in the Persian Gulf.

On Wednesday, the president defended the show of firepower on Twitter.

“The cost of our great Salute to America tomorrow will be very little compared to what it is worth,” he wrote. “We own the planes, we have the pilots, the airport is right next door (Andrews), all we need is the fuel. We own the tanks and all. Fireworks are donated by two of the greats. Nice!”

The festivities have put the Pentagon in a bind in trying to both follow orders from the commander in chief while also trying to sidestep the inevitable accusation that Mr. Trump is being allowed to politicize the military.

The tanks, armored vehicles and military jets that will be streaking over the nation’s capital are part of Mr. Trump’s vision of a grand military parade, a goal he has pursued since attending a Bastille Day celebration in Paris in 2017. The president originally wanted a similar show of military might in Washington on Veterans Day, but it was derailed last August after objections by the city’s officials, concerns from the Pentagon and a price tag of more than $90 million.

Mr. Trump then mused about hosting a smaller military-themed parade on Independence Day. But Pentagon brass kept quiet and hoped the issue would go away, according to one Defense Department official, who spoke about the internal discussions on condition of anonymity.

But in early June, the White House called, and with less than 30 days before the United States’ 243rd birthday, Pentagon officials started drawing up a plan.

Two Defense Department officials said the vision for a relatively small contribution from the military was greatly expanded over the past two weeks.

A third official said that the ceremony would cost the military well over $1 million and that many in the Pentagon saw it as a waste of resources and money.

It is unclear what the president’s salute to the armed forces will cost American taxpayers. It has already forced the National Park Service to divert $2.5 million from other park uses, according to a person familiar with the decision. The Washington Post first reported the diversion of funds.

Defense Department officials said Mr. Trump insisted on including tanks in the celebration, prompting a scramble among officials at Fort Stewart in Georgia to move the vehicles to Washington and position them around the Lincoln Memorial instead of parading them down streets and over bridges that would be damaged under the heavy load.

Originally, 1,000 troops were supposed to attend the event, but that number was whittled down to 300 — including about a dozen who were ordered to build a platform for the tanks to keep from damaging the ground beneath, one of the department officials said. Another military official said troops are also being tasked at disassembling the tank stands and cleaning up at 2 a.m. Friday morning, after the celebration ends.

Some military units stationed in the capital region are having difficulty get enough troops to carry out these mundane tasks on such short notice because many troops are already on leave for the holiday.

The hymn for each military service will be played while aircraft soar above.

A portion of the area in front of the Lincoln Memorial will be roped off as a V.I.P. section, White House officials confirmed. The tickets for that section will be free, but some of them are being distributed by the Republican National Committee to Mr. Trump’s donors and political backers. The White House also provided 5,000 tickets to the Department of Defense.

Armored vehicles previously have been showcased in Washington, including for defense industry conferences in the city’s convention center, and the number of tanks and other military gear that was moved by rail, crane and truck for Thursday’s festivities fell short by comparison.

Phillip Carter, a former Pentagon official and an Iraq war veteran who is now at RAND Corporation specializing in veterans and military personnel issues, said that the display of vehicles would be smaller than what the military branches display during recruiting events around the country.

“There are far more consequential questions of strategy and civil-military relations, from Afghanistan to Korea to the war on terrorism, that we ought to be debating,” Mr. Carter said.

On Wednesday, the Pentagon announced that the acting Defense Secretary, Mark T. Esper, and Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, would join Mr. Trump at the festivities.

Many other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and service secretaries, however, had planned leaves or were on official travel, and were sending deputies in their place.

John Kirby, a retired Navy admiral who is now a commentator for CNN, said Mr. Trump’s “Salute to America” was “shaping up to be mostly a salute to him.”

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