Trump plans to add tanks, fighter jets to his speech on July 4, breaking with peaceful non-partisan tradition


President Donald Trump said on Monday that he plans to display battle tanks on Washington's National Mall as a pump-up.

The military hardware is just one new element in a U.S. Independence Day pageant that will depart significantly from the nonpartisan, broadly patriotic programs that typically draw hundreds of thousands of people to the monuments in downtown Washington.

While past presidents have traditionally kept a low profile on July 4, Trump plans to deliver a speech at the Lincoln Memorial.

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The custom Boeing 747 used by U.S. presidents, and the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels jet squadron.

"I'm going to say a few words, and we're going to have plans going overhead," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. "And we're going to have tanks stationed outside."

Democrats in Congress have accused Trump of hijacking the event to boost his re-election prospects in 2020.

Trump has pushed for a military parade in Washington since he marveled at the Bastille Day military parade in Paris in 2017. His administration postponed to parade that had been planned for Veterans Day in November, 2018, after costs ballooned to US $ 90-million, three times the initial estimate.

Trump said modern M1 Abrams tanks and Second World War era Sherman tanks would be both be on display. District of Columbia officials said the heavy military equipment could damage city streets.

"You've got to be pretty careful with the tanks because the roads have a tendency to not carry heavy tanks, so we have to put them in certain areas," Trump said.

The anti-war group Code Pink said it had secured permits to fly to "Baby Trump" blimp, depicting the president in diapers, during his speech. "Just like Donald Trump," co-founder Medea Benjamin said in a news release.

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The Interior Department, which oversees the event, has not said how much the event will cost. Two fireworks firms will put on a 35-minute display for free, which agency said was equal to a donation of US $ 700,000.



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