Revealed: Cost of Trump’s Independence Day military parade

The Pentagon has revealed it spent $1.2m (£963,000) on Donald Trump’s Independence Day parade in Washington DC.

Tanks and equipment were brought to the US capital for last week’s Fourth of July show, where the president made a speech praising American military strength.

Flanked by two Bradley fighting vehicles, Mr Trump president told stories about each military branch before separate flyovers of their respective military aircraft.

“The total cost of the department’s support to the ‘Salute to America’ event was $1.2m,” the Pentagon said in a statement.

Members of the US military are seen next to a Bradley Fighting Vehicle as preparations are made for the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event with US President Donald Trump at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC, July 3, 2019, which will feature flyovers by the Blue Angels, an airplane used as Air Force One, as well as military demonstrations and a speech by Trump. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Image: US troops with one of the Bradley fighting vehicles used on the day

However, the overall cost is likely to have been higher since funding for the aircraft demonstrations came from the military services’ training budgets, the Pentagon added.

It was also reported that the US National Park Service diverted $2.5m (£2m) in park entrance fees to help pay for the event.

A breakdown of the costs has not been supplied, so it is not clear if all of the $1.2m was for the cost of transporting equipment – including two Abrams tanks and two Bradley fighting vehicles – from Fort Stewart in Georgia for the celebration.

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Simply flying the B-2 bomber for an hour costs about $122,000 (£98,000), according to the Air Force.

Mr Trump, who was inspired to stage the flashy affair after seeing a similar display in France, has said it will be held every year.

“Based on its tremendous success, we’re just making the decision – and I think we can say we’ve made the decision – to do it again next year, and, maybe we can say, for the foreseeable future,” he told reporters.

The display was widely criticised, not least for what some called the politicisation of what is traditionally a non-partisan celebration.

President Trump's show of pomp and patriotism to mark Independence Day left critics to accuse him of turning it into a political event.
Military flies in to mark Independence Day

Many pointed out Mr Trump himself did not serve in the military, escaping the Vietnam War draft due to bone spurs in his feet.

And Phil Francis, chairman of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks, told the Washington Post: “It’s irresponsible to ask the National Park Service to absorb the costs of an additional and political event when there are so many unmet needs in the parks.

The 'Salute' to America' was welcomed by Trump's supporters
Image: The ‘Salute’ to America’ was welcomed by Trump’s supporters

Mr Trump was also mocked for saying US forces “took over the airports” during the American Revolutionary War in the 1770s.

Observers quickly pointed out there was no air travel in the 18th century.

During his “Salute to America” speech at the Lincoln Memorial on Thursday, he was talking about the year 1775 when he said: “Our army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do.”

Mr Trump blamed it on rain making the teleprompter hard to read.

The Fourth of July holiday celebrates the US founders’ declaring independence from Britain in 1776.

Source: SKY NEWS

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