President Donald Trump is back from his big trip to North Korea, where he briefly met with Kim Jong Un. One thing those two men have in common? They love them some tanks.
Per the Washington Post, Trump is again giving the National Parks Service a massive headache by requesting massive armored vehicles on the National Mall for his planned rebrand of the nation’s Fourth of July celebration as a VIP “Salute to America.” According to the paper this morning:
But in recent days, another issue has competed for [acting NPS director P. Daniel] Smith’s attention: how to satisfy President Trump’s request to station tanks or other armored military vehicles on the Mall for his planned July Fourth address to the nation.
The ongoing negotiations over whether to use massive military hardware, such as Abrams tanks or Bradley fighting vehicles, as a prop for Trump’s “Salute to America” is just one of many unfinished details when it comes to the celebration planned for Thursday, according to several people briefed on the plan, who requested anonymity to speak frankly.
Per the Post, this whole thing is Trump’s pet project—he’s reportedly been micromanaging it personally.
Traditionally, major gatherings on the Mall, including inauguration festivities and a jubilee commemorating the start of a new millennium, have featured a designated event producer. But in this case, the producer is the president himself.
Trump has demonstrated an unusual level of interest in this year’s Independence Day observance, according to three senior administration officials. He has received regular briefings about it from Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, according to the people briefed on the plan, and has weighed in on everything from how the pyrotechnics should be launched to how the military should be honored.
And this is a man who famously hates all manner of briefing! Trump has been trying to get a North Korean-style military parade through DC for years. His last plan for a parade was postponed in November, but the idea has been percolating since his inauguration, when he requested up to five military flyovers after the original push for tanks was scrapped. At the time, military officials pushed back on having tanks roll through DC because they were worried the 100,000-plus-pound vehicles would literally destroy the roads. As HuffPost reported at the time:
The military, which traditionally works closely with the presidential inaugural committee, shot down the request, the source said. Their reason was twofold. Some were concerned about the optics of having tanks and missile launchers rolling down Pennsylvania Avenue. But they also worried that the tanks, which often weigh over 100,000 pounds, would destroy the roads.
“I could absolutely see structural support being a reason [not to use tanks],” a Department of Defense official said. “D.C. is built on a swamp to begin with.”
Hell yeah, destroying DC’s infrastructure to own the libs. MAGA baby!!