President Donald Trump on Wednesday tweeted out a message to his followers, assuring them that the costs of his militarized Independence Day celebration in Washington D.C. won’t be as much as people might expect it to be.
“The cost of our great Salute to America tomorrow will be very little compared to what it is worth,” the president said.
One of the reasons costs will be so low, he added, was that the equipment didn’t need to be rented out.
“We own the planes, we have the pilots, the airport is right next door (Andrews), all we need is the fuel,” Trump added.
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. We own the tanks and all. Fireworks are donated by two of the greats. Nice!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 3, 2019
Trump also noted the fireworks for the event were being donated.
Still, is it realistic to believe that the costs for such an event will be low? Many experts disagree, although it’s hard to know anything at this point, given that the estimated costs for the event haven’t been divulged yet by the administration.
“We haven’t heard anything. It’s disturbing,” Sen. Tom Udall (D-New Mexico) said, per reporting from NPR.
Some of the ways that costs could be up, in spite of what Trump has said, include the address itself that he intends to give at the Lincoln Memorial, which will require security and other personnel costs; the use and maintenance of armored tanks throughout Washington D.C.; aircraft flyovers from planes representing all five branches of the military; and the costs associated with suspending military operations at Reagan National Airport for 90 minutes while the flyovers take place.
Much of the costs have been diverted from a fund created by the Park Service, derived from user fees. More than $2.5 million will be diverted from that fund, Newsweek reported, which is generally geared toward repairs and maintenance costs for national parks across the country.
The administration’s refusal to disclose estimated costs of the event may be intentional. Last year, plans for a military parade around Veterans Day were scrapped after its costs — $92 million — were disclosed to the public, according to ABC News.
Trump blamed the cancelation of the event on local political leaders, who he said were marking up the costs.
“The local politicians who run Washington, D.C. (poorly) know a windfall when they see it,” Trump wrote in a tweet at that time. “When asked to give us a price for holding a great celebratory military parade, they wanted a number so ridiculously high that I canceled it.”