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Westlake Legal Group > Washington DC

Salvadorans, Washington’s Builders, Face Expulsion Under Trump

A few minutes before going to work deep beneath Washington’s streets, the Salvadoran construction workers checked off the projects they had built for the city’s residents: storm water tunnels, new Metro lines and train stations, and shuttles at Dulles International Airport.

Now these workers are at risk of losing their jobs and being removed from the United States. They are among 400,000 immigrants from six nations whose legal immigration status, based on violence or environmental disaster in their native lands, was revoked last year by the Trump administration, which argues that conditions there have improved enough for them to return.

The administration’s decision will cause economic ripples in other cities, but few will feel it more directly than Washington. Roughly a fifth of the capital’s construction workers are in the United States because of the program, known as temporary protected status.

Already facing labor shortages, contractors warn that projects will face delays and that costs could rise if the workers are sent home or end up staying illegally. Most are from El Salvador, with smaller numbers from Honduras and Nicaragua.

“If we lose them, it’s not going to be easy to replace them,” said Rick DiGeronimo, a vice president at Independence Excavating, a construction firm based in Cleveland that has several projects in the Washington area. About one-third of its workers have temporary protected status. “We’d struggle to finish some of our jobs because there aren’t workers of this quality out there,” he said.

Construction appealed to new arrivals from El Salvador because the jobs did not require special skills or knowledge of English, said Abel Núñez, the executive director of Carecen, a social services organization for Latino immigrants. “The construction industry was booming and these people wanted to work,” he said.

Temporary protected status does not provide a path to citizenship, but most of these workers never thought they would face deportation. They have been in the United States legally, for nearly two decades in many cases. Some have bought homes and cars and have settled into middle-class lives. Many have children who are American citizens.

There are nearly 46,000 people under the program in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, according to the Center for American Progress, a liberal group that opposes the Trump administration’s move. Over all, the Washington area is home to nearly 200,000 Salvadorans, the largest group of foreign-born residents in the region.

“It doesn’t make any sense,” said Alexander Garray, who has temporary protected status and spends his days 120 feet below Washington, boring a huge tunnel for water and sewage that will result in cleaner rivers in the region. “I pay taxes, I’ve never had a problem with the law, and I own a home. I don’t understand why they are trying to kick us out.”

Construction is not the only industry that relies heavily on immigrants with a tenuous foothold in the United States. They make up much of the work force in chicken processing, meatpacking, garment manufacturing and food services. In August, federal immigration enforcement agents raided several poultry plants in Mississippi, arresting nearly 700 people on the suspicion that they were undocumented.

The decision to deport workers who have been in the country legally with temporary protected status strikes Dennis Desmond, a union official, as ironic because some of them have been hired to work at sensitive locations like Fort Meade, Md., the headquarters of the National Security Agency.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 00construction1-articleLarge Salvadorans, Washington’s Builders, Face Expulsion Under Trump washington dc Trump, Donald J Labor and Jobs Immigration and Emigration Homeland Security Department Foreign Workers El Salvador Building (Construction)

“I don’t understand why they are trying to kick us out,” said Alexander Garray, who has made more than $80,000 a year for the past several years as a construction worker in the Washington area.CreditJustin T. Gellerson for The New York Times

“They’ve been allowed to work on these critical projects but now it’s like they are not fit to remain in the country,” said Mr. Desmond, the business manager of Local 11 of the Laborers’ International Union of North America. He estimated that 20 percent of his union’s members were in the United States under the temporary protected status program.

The origins of the program can be traced to American support for El Salvador’s right-wing government during the country’s civil war in the 1980s, said Representative Jim McGovern, Democrat of Massachusetts.

A congressional staff member at the time, he helped to draw up the legislation that created the program as part of the Immigration Act of 1990. “We were supporting a government and a military responsible for much of the violence,” Mr. McGovern said. “There was a feeling we weren’t doing enough to help the people caught in the middle.”

With the end of the civil war in 1992, protected status expired, but it was renewed after a series of devastating earthquakes hit El Salvador in 2001.

Natives of the Central American country now constitute 60 percent of beneficiaries of temporary protected status, according to the Congressional Research Service.

El Salvador was the first, but the program was eventually extended to citizens of 10 countries, mostly in Central America, the Middle East or East Africa. Applicants have to be in the United States to qualify when people from their countries are designated for protected status.

The program was extended periodically by Republican and Democratic administrations, and those who had temporary protected status typically renewed it every 18 months.

But last year, the Trump administration moved to end protected status for immigrants from six of the countries — El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua and Sudan — arguing that it was never meant to provide a permanent haven. In the case of El Salvador, the Department of Homeland Security concluded in January 2018 that the conditions that prevailed starting in 2001 “no longer exist.”

“Many reconstruction projects have now been completed,” the department said. “Schools and hospitals damaged by the earthquakes have been reconstructed and repaired, homes have been rebuilt, and money has been provided for water and sanitation.”

The workers, however, say that it is unthinkable for them and their children to leave for El Salvador, which is mired in poverty and gang violence, and the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network persuaded a federal judge in San Francisco to issue a preliminary injunction in October blocking their deportation.

The Trump administration has appealed the ruling, and legal experts say the issue could end up before the Supreme Court. At a federal appellate-court hearing last month, protected-status holders packed a courtroom in Pasadena, Calif., and judges had tough questions for both sides.

For now, any action by the government to deport the protected workers can’t happen before next year.

“The statute is clear that the administration has the authority” to end temporary protected status, said Tom Jawetz, vice president for immigration policy at the Center for American Progress. “But it is also clear what factors must be considered in making those determinations. The plaintiffs have made a strong argument that this administration is looking for a predetermined outcome.”

Lorenzo Flores, a construction worker, could be deported after the Trump administration moved to end Salvadorans’ eligibility for temporary protected status.CreditJustin T. Gellerson for The New York Times

In June, the House approved legislation that would allow those already covered by the program to apply for permanent residency, but the bill is unlikely to advance in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Ever Guardado, 38, came to the United States from El Salvador illegally through Mexico in 2000 after he was unable to find work at home. When the government offered protected status for Salvadorans the next year, he signed up.

Mr. Guardado said the administration’s decision to end his protected status had put his life in limbo. “I never thought they would take it away,” he said. “Now I’m scared every day.”

Although he had no experience in construction — he had worked on farms back home — other Salvadoran immigrants helped him find jobs on building sites. “I could see I could make money,” Mr. Guardado said.

“I thought I would be secure forever,” he said. He earns nearly $30 an hour working on transportation projects, owns a home in Sterling, Va., and has three children, who are United States citizens.

Nationally, construction is the second-largest employer of those in the program, employing some 44,000 people. Only companies that do building-and-grounds maintenance have more.

Brian Turmail, a spokesman for the Associated General Contractors of America, said that construction in Houston, another center of Salvadoran immigration, would also be threatened if the program were terminated. Nationally, he said, more than three-quarters of construction firms say they cannot find enough workers.

“We don’t want our children to work in construction, but we don’t want people to come from overseas and do it either,” he said. “You can’t have it both ways.”

Mr. Garray, the tunnel worker, came from El Salvador in 2000 on a tourist visa to visit his sister and mother. There were few job opportunities to go home to, and he soon found work in construction in Washington.

When Salvadorans became eligible for temporary protected status the next year, Mr. Garray signed up. Since then, he has worked his way up from laborer to equipment operator, and he now earns $32 an hour.

With overtime and double shifts, he has made more than $80,000 a year for the last several years, enough to buy a home and help raise his two daughters, both United States citizens.

By contrast, his mother, an American citizen, earns $8.50 as a housekeeper at a Virginia hotel. Unlike him, she does not face deportation, a prospect that gnaws at him.

“I think about it all the time,” Mr. Garray said before heading back into the tunnel. “Morning, noon and night. Even in my dreams.”

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

What These Student Debaters Learned From the 2020 Democratic Debates

WASHINGTON — For the 20 Democratic candidates who tussled onstage in Detroit last week for their party’s nomination, the debates were a chance to goose poll numbers, undercut rivals and wring donations from potential voters.

For the nearly 200 students who attended a summer debate program last week run by the Washington Urban Debate League, the contests were something else: a lesson plan.

The program, a two-week boot camp for middle and high schoolers held at the Washington Latin Public Charter School, enrolls mostly minority students from underserved backgrounds. The presidential debates offered a teachable moment, said David Trigaux, the league’s program director.

“We always try to find ways to connect to what’s going on in the public discussion,” he said. “The timing of the debates couldn’t be better to provide examples of some things to do and some things not to do.”

Across two harried nights of intraparty sparring, the campers, sorted into “labs” according to experience, found examples of both. They are not yet old enough to vote, much less stand for the highest office in the land. But they could probably debate circles around those who are.

The camp has a scholastic feel; less hiking and canoeing, more nine-to-five instruction in the art of cross-examination and rebuttal. In a math classroom on Thursday, a lab of junior varsity debaters simulated Wednesday night’s presidential showdown, with each student adopting the role of a different candidate.

“Global warming is the first thing we should focus on,” said Brooke Roberson, 12, giving a convincing impression of Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington, who has staked his 2020 run on climate change. Earlier that day, she hunched over a laptop watching clips of debate highlights, absorbing the candidates’ platforms, attack lines and speaking styles.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_158747562_ef5e1b6c-52a1-414b-8641-26993896f34b-articleLarge What These Student Debaters Learned From the 2020 Democratic Debates washington dc United States Politics and Government Public Speaking Prince George's County (Md) Presidential Election of 2020 Global Warming Education (K-12) Democratic Party Debates (Political) Debates (Academic) Arms Trade

Shabad Singh, 12, and Brooke Roberson, 12, examining a clip of Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii from Wednesday’s Democratic debate in Detroit.CreditMichael A. McCoy for The New York Times

“The first thing we have to worry about is how to beat Donald Trump,” countered Darrian Carroll, a University of Maryland doctoral student who helped lead the lab, mimicking former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. “We won’t stop global warming if we don’t beat Donald Trump.”

“But do you have a plan, other than to beat Trump?” pressed Tyler Davis, 13, channeling Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii.

Role-playing the presidential contests helps less experienced debaters hone their rhetorical skills, said Hiba Sheikh, 24, the lab’s other leader. It also magnifies differences. In the type of competition the campers practice, called policy debate, judges grade opposing teams, each composed of two debaters, according to the strength of their arguments as well as the evidence they present. “Thinking about presidential debates through a policy debate lens makes you really see what claims they are making and how they are substantiating those claims,” Ms. Sheikh said of the presidential candidates. “And often they’re just not substantiating them.”

One floor away, a lab of 12 varsity debaters looked for parallels. The candidates’ liberal use of ad hominem attacks might not fly in a policy debate round, said Jackie Poapst, the assistant director for George Mason University’s debate team, who led the discussion. But deploying strong opening statements to prime an audience and stressing the far-reaching effects of policy certainly would.

Ms. Poapst’s students watched Wednesday’s debate as a homework assignment. For over an hour, they picked apart performances, zeroing in on effective attacks (Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York and Ms. Gabbard) and key clashes (Senator Kamala Harris of California versus Mr. Biden on health care; Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey versus Mr. Biden on criminal justice).

“It’s impressive just how much more they do than us and how much less they do than us at the same time,” said Timothy Neal, 15, comparing his fellow campers with the presidential hopefuls. “On one hand, we talk about one resolution a year, and they had, like, six of those in that one debate,” he added, using the term for the topic students debate over a 10-month season. “And on the other hand, we talk about one resolution a year, and we aren’t dodging questions and salting each other.”

The presidential debates can also influence the varsity students’ own arguments. In policy debate, students present real-world proposals and actionable plans to enact them. That often means considering shifting political winds. This season’s resolution, that the United States limit arms sales to foreign governments, is complicated by the impending election, said Lola Rogin, 14. “If something political changes, and it could be anything, it changes the trajectory of debates.”

In the past two years, the campers have sparred over issues like education and immigration — topics that bear directly on their own lives. Many of them come from immigrant backgrounds, and the issue of foreign arms sales can also sometimes hit close to home. “That’s something that they can really understand, because there’s gun violence in D.C.,” Mr. Trigaux said.

Joey Villaflor, 12, playing Senator Cory Booker last week during a re-enactment of Wednesday’s Democratic debate in Detroit.CreditMichael A. McCoy for The New York Times

Since its inception in 2015, the camp has exploded from just 32 students to hundreds. The league has grown from a handful of schools to nearly 50, all of them public schools in Washington and nearby Prince George’s County, Md.

About 30 cities, including Baltimore, New York and Chicago, have urban debate leagues. (Detroit’s urban debate camp starts this week.) The leagues aim to bring debate to disadvantaged populations. The Washington league, which hosts tournaments during the school year, lowers barriers to participation, providing coaching resources and transportation to competitions. The camp, which is free, serves every attendee daily breakfast and lunch.

“We will never make the kids pay anything,” said Norman J. Ornstein, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, whose foundation funds the camp. In 2015, Mr. Ornstein and his wife, Judy, started the foundation in memory of their son, Matthew, a former policy debate champion who died of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. The camp bears his name. Including facilities costs, payment for staff members and food, this year’s price tag approached $100,000, Mr. Ornstein said.

Being in Washington also has its advantages: Volunteer judges have included Capitol Hill staff members, a Secret Service agent and other government employees. On Friday, at the close of a campwide tournament, Mr. Ornstein read from letters addressed to the students from Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. (High school debate “set me up for success in college, law school, in advocacy and law practice, politics, public service, and, of course, winning arguments with my husband!” Mrs. Clinton wrote.)

For some campers, studying the presidential contests made debate more relatable. “It’s cool to see that debating can be a real-life skill. It can persuade a lot of people,” said Shabad Singh, 12, who played Ms. Harris in her lab on Thursday.

Others find value defending multiple perspectives and watching the candidates present competing ideas. “It’s good to see your opinions played out on a larger scale,” said Paola Almendarez, 15. “Because some people, and I would include myself in this, are so locked into what they think is right.”

In Friday’s tournament, she and Ms. Rogin, her debate partner, placed first among the varsity students. With that under her belt, did she have any advice for any of the 2020 Democrats before the next bout?

“Oh,” she said, “where do I begin?”

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Supreme Court Lets Trump Proceed on Border Wall

Westlake Legal Group 26dc-scotus-border-sub-facebookJumbo Supreme Court Lets Trump Proceed on Border Wall washington dc United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Supreme Court (US) Mexico Defense Department Border Barriers

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Friday allowed the Trump administration to move forward with plans to build a wall along parts of the Mexican border while litigation over paying for it proceeds.

A trial judge had prohibited the administration from transferring $2.5 billion from the Pentagon’s budget to fund the effort, and an appeals court had refused to enter a stay while it considered the administration’s appeal.

The Supreme Court entered a stay, allowing construction to proceed while the litigation continues.

The court’s four more liberal justices dissented. One of them, Justice Stephen G. Breyer, wrote that he would have allowed preparatory work but not construction.

In February, President Trump declared a national emergency along the Mexican border. The declaration followed a two-month impasse with Congress over funding to build his long-promised barrier wall, one that gave rise to the longest partial government shutdown in the nation’s history.

After Congress appropriated only a fraction of what Mr. Trump had sought, he announced that he would act unilaterally to spend billions more.

Soon after, two advocacy groups represented by the American Civil Liberties Union — the Sierra Club and Southern Border Communities Coalition — sued to stop Mr. Trump’s plan to use money meant for military programs to build barriers along the border in what he said was an effort to combat drug trafficking.

Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr., of the United States District Court in Oakland, Calif., blocked the effort in a pair of decisions that said the statute the administration had relied on to justify the transfer did not authorize it.

“The case is not about whether the challenged border barrier construction plan is wise or unwise. It is not about whether the plan is the right or wrong policy response to existing conditions at the southern border of the United States,” Judge Gilliam wrote. “Instead, this case presents strict legal questions regarding whether the proposed plan for funding border barrier construction exceeds the executive branch’s lawful authority.”

A divided three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, refused to stay Judge Gilliam’s injunction while the court considered the government’s appeal.

The public interest, the majority said, “is best served by respecting the Constitution’s assignment of the power of the purse to Congress, and by deferring to Congress’s understanding of the public interest as reflected in its repeated denial of more funding for border barrier construction.”

In urging the Supreme Court to intercede, Noel J. Francisco, the solicitor general, wrote that the plaintiffs’ “interests in hiking, bird watching and fishing in designated drug-smuggling corridors do not outweigh the harm to the public from halting the government’s efforts to construct barriers to stanch the flow of illegal narcotics across the southern border.”

Mr. Francisco argued that the lower courts had misread two provisions of a federal law in concluding that the transfer was not authorized. The law allows reallocation of money to address “unforeseen military requirements” where the expenditures had not already been “denied by Congress.” Mr. Francisco wrote that the drug enforcement measures were unforeseen when the Defense Department made its budget request and that Congress had never addressed the particular narcotics measures.

In response, the A.C.L.U. said that the central issue in the case was straightforward. The administration, the group wrote, “lacks authority to spend taxpayer funds on a wall that Congress considered and denied.”

“This was a deliberate decision by Congress,” the A.C.L.U.’s brief said. “Less than six months ago, this country endured the longest government shutdown in its history due to Congress’s refusal to appropriate funds for the wall construction at issue here.” That meant, the brief said, that the construction was, in the words of the federal law, “denied by Congress.”

In a separate case, the House also challenged that administration’s actions.

In June, Judge Trevor N. McFadden of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the House could not show that it had suffered the sort of injury that gave it standing to sue. Courts, he wrote, should generally resolve disputes between the other two branches only as a last resort.

Here, he wrote, “Congress has several political arrows in its quiver to counter perceived threats to its sphere of power,” including legislation “to expressly restrict the transfer or spending of funds for a border wall.”

In a Supreme Court brief supporting the opponents of the border wall, lawyers for the House said the cases posed a fundamental question. “Under our constitutional scheme,” they wrote, “an immense wall along our border simply cannot be constructed without funds appropriated by Congress for that purpose.”

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

Supreme Court Lets Trump Proceed on Wall Plans Amid Legal Fight

Westlake Legal Group 26dc-scotus-border-sub-facebookJumbo Supreme Court Lets Trump Proceed on Wall Plans Amid Legal Fight washington dc United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Supreme Court (US) Mexico Defense Department Border Barriers

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Friday allowed the Trump administration to move forward with plans to build a wall along parts of the Mexican border while litigation over paying for it proceeds.

A trial judge had prohibited the administration from transferring $2.5 billion from the Pentagon’s budget to fund the effort, and an appeals court had refused to enter a stay while it considered the administration’s appeal.

The Supreme Court entered a stay, allowing construction to proceed while the litigation continues.

The court’s four more liberal justices dissented. One of them, Justice Stephen G. Breyer, wrote that he would have allowed preparatory work but not construction.

In February, President Trump declared a national emergency along the Mexican border. The declaration followed a two-month impasse with Congress over funding to build his long-promised barrier wall, one that gave rise to the longest partial government shutdown in the nation’s history.

After Congress appropriated only a fraction of what Mr. Trump had sought, he announced that he would act unilaterally to spend billions more.

Soon after, two advocacy groups represented by the American Civil Liberties Union — the Sierra Club and Southern Border Communities Coalition — sued to stop Mr. Trump’s plan to use money meant for military programs to build barriers along the border in what he said was an effort to combat drug trafficking.

Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr., of the United States District Court in Oakland, Calif., blocked the effort in a pair of decisions that said the statute the administration had relied on to justify the transfer did not authorize it.

“The case is not about whether the challenged border barrier construction plan is wise or unwise. It is not about whether the plan is the right or wrong policy response to existing conditions at the southern border of the United States,” Judge Gilliam wrote. “Instead, this case presents strict legal questions regarding whether the proposed plan for funding border barrier construction exceeds the executive branch’s lawful authority.”

A divided three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, refused to stay Judge Gilliam’s injunction while the court considered the government’s appeal.

The public interest, the majority said, “is best served by respecting the Constitution’s assignment of the power of the purse to Congress, and by deferring to Congress’s understanding of the public interest as reflected in its repeated denial of more funding for border barrier construction.”

In urging the Supreme Court to intercede, Noel J. Francisco, the solicitor general, wrote that the plaintiffs’ “interests in hiking, bird watching and fishing in designated drug-smuggling corridors do not outweigh the harm to the public from halting the government’s efforts to construct barriers to stanch the flow of illegal narcotics across the southern border.”

Mr. Francisco argued that the lower courts had misread two provisions of a federal law in concluding that the transfer was not authorized. The law allows reallocation of money to address “unforeseen military requirements” where the expenditures had not already been “denied by Congress.” Mr. Francisco wrote that the drug enforcement measures were unforeseen when the Defense Department made its budget request and that Congress had never addressed the particular narcotics measures.

In response, the A.C.L.U. said that the central issue in the case was straightforward. The administration, the group wrote, “lacks authority to spend taxpayer funds on a wall that Congress considered and denied.”

“This was a deliberate decision by Congress,” the A.C.L.U.’s brief said. “Less than six months ago, this country endured the longest government shutdown in its history due to Congress’s refusal to appropriate funds for the wall construction at issue here.” That meant, the brief said, that the construction was, in the words of the federal law, “denied by Congress.”

In a separate case, the House also challenged that administration’s actions.

In June, Judge Trevor N. McFadden of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the House could not show that it had suffered the sort of injury that gave it standing to sue. Courts, he wrote, should generally resolve disputes between the other two branches only as a last resort.

Here, he wrote, “Congress has several political arrows in its quiver to counter perceived threats to its sphere of power,” including legislation “to expressly restrict the transfer or spending of funds for a border wall.”

In a Supreme Court brief supporting the opponents of the border wall, lawyers for the House said the cases posed a fundamental question. “Under our constitutional scheme,” they wrote, “an immense wall along our border simply cannot be constructed without funds appropriated by Congress for that purpose.”

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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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 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.

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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

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

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.

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