He’s pretty good about sticking to his script in a big spot like the State of the Union, when he knows he’s playing to a mixed crowd instead of to the Trump faithful. An Independence Day speech at the Lincoln Memorial would fall into that category.
But can a 20-minute riff about Mexican rapists and China “stealing” from the U.S. in the form of trade deficits be conclusively ruled out? It cannot.
I think he’s unlikely to start bombthrowing just because he’ll be so pleased to be back in his element, essentially producing and hosting a grand national (and nationalist) pageant. He didn’t veer off-script on “The Apprentice” to complain about Obama’s birth certificate, did he? He was enjoying himself too much in the moment to care. Same here.
President Trump has effectively taken charge of the nation’s premier Fourth of July celebration in Washington, moving the gargantuan fireworks display from its usual spot on the Mall to be closer to the Potomac River and making tentative plans to address the nation from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, according to top administration officials…
The president has received regular briefings on the effort in the Oval Office and has gotten involved in the minutiae of the planning — even discussing whether the fireworks should be launched from a barge in the Potomac River, administration aides said. The president has shown interest in the event that he often does not exhibit for other administration priorities, the aides added.…
Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), who chairs the House Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, said in an interview that she is concerned that Trump could polarize what is typically a unifying event for Americans…
Trump’s focus on Independence Day reflects a broader pattern of focusing on the details of projects important to him personally. He grew obsessed, for example, with the renovation of FBI headquarters in Washington, asking for building specs, floor plans and even furniture and carpet schemes, current and former aides said.
This is going to be one of those things where Trump is pilloried by critics for upending another minor norm, in this case inserting himself into the otherwise apolitical July 4th celebration, and yet every one of his successors will end up seizing on the precedent he sets to justify doing it themselves. If you like Trump making a MAGA speech at the Lincoln Memorial before the big fireworks show in 2019, you’ll love President Elizabeth Warren’s “tribute to our values” in 2023. It’s a free opportunity to make a reelection pitch and to associate oneself with patriotism in the public imagination on a big stage. Why would any president say no?
Besides, this is more palatable than the big military display Trump initially wanted in Washington after being wowed by France’s Bastille Day celebrations. The president showing off his military arsenal would have been redolent of banana-republicanism. The president making a speech to celebrate the country’s independence seems logical enough that you’re left feeling surprised that no one tried it recently before Trump.
I can’t find an embeddable version of the clip but you can watch it at Grabien. As for Camerota’s point about the crowd clamoring for violence, that’s a reference to the Trump fan who shouted from the audience at one of his recent rallies that illegals should be shot at the border. There’s no reason to think that degree of menace would be common at the Lincoln Memorial, though. It’s not as if a July 4th crowd is likely to include a lot of people who are, er, drunk and carrying minor explosives.