A massive crowd, a red, white and blue parade, entertainment, thunderous fireworks high above the Lincoln Memorial; and to top it off a speech by the man who dreamed up all this awesomeness, none other than President Donald J. Trump. This is his newly crafted vision for the first week of July in D.C. this year – an extravaganza he is calling “Salute to America.”
The problem is virtually no one can explain how this is different from any Fourth of July in the nation’s capital, aside from the speech. Every year there is a parade, thousands and thousands of people, entertainment, and fireworks over the National Mall. Really big ones.
Yet in one of his latest tweets, the Patriot in Chief has said “HOLD THE DATE! We will be having one of the biggest gatherings in the history of Washington, D.C., on July 4th.”
Let’s set aside for a moment the notion of “holding” a date that is already highlighted on almost every calendar sold. Let’s also brush off Trump’s hyperbolic tendency to proclaim any crowd with him at the center as the largest gathering ever. You are still left with a question: What the heck is he talking about? If you are generous, you might think he really does have some grander vision of what already exists.
If you’re being neutral, you might imagine he’s never really experienced Fourth of July in D.C. enough to know he is describing long-standing traditions. And if you are cynical, you might speculate that he is positioning himself to stand amid the annual throngs and proclaim himself the architect of their celebration – kind of like a fan rising in the stands of a crowded baseball stadium and shouting “Look at all the people who came to see me!”
But I wonder if he’s really just making a joke. After all, the last part of his tweet says the speech will be “by your favorite President, me!” And polls have told us for a long time, for most voters that is a laughable claim.