Trump’s July 4 Partisan Tank Party: An Impeachable Offense?

July 14th, 2019 - by Win Without War & Mary Papenfuss / The Huffington Post

Investigate Trump’s Partisan Tank Rally!

Win Without War

HOLD THE DATE! We will be having one of the biggest gatherings in the history of Washington, D.C., on July 4th. It will be called “A Salute To America” and will be held at the Lincoln Memorial. Major fireworks display, entertainment and an address by your favorite President, me! — Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

 (July 12, 2019) — Last week, Donald Trump spent approximately $560,000 PER HOUR to mobilize tanks, fighter jets and Air Force One to celebrate himself on July 4th in DC. [1]

It was easy to see that it was a massively expensive vanity project, but there might have been a more calculated partisan purpose: to reward his party’s biggest donors.

Reporters discovered the Republican Party National Committee was given tickets to a special VIP access area [2] — and it turns out only VIPs with those tickets could see the tanks Trump was so desperate to have in D.C. [3]

It’s pretty clear Trump spent untold millions to mobilize the military and dole out perks to his political backers — at taxpayers’ expense. And that could be a huge violation of the Hatch Act that bars taxpayers from paying for a partisan event.

It gets worse: Trump almost certainly personally profited hugely from the spectacle he used taxpayer funds to create. 

The Trump Hotel in DC — which Trump famously refused to divest from after assuming the presidency, and which earned him nearly $41 million last year — was completely booked up the nights before and after the rally. [4]

Meanwhile, the White House has refused to publicly release the true costs of his vanity event. That’s likely because the last time Trump tried to hold a tank rally in DC the Defense Department estimated it could cost as much as $92 million dollars. [5] And news just broke that the whole thing may have bankrupted a vital Washington, DC security fund. [6]

This is a huge national scandal because it tears yet again at the heart of the institutions and laws that protect American democracy from an authoritarian-style takeover. Any broken laws MUST be uncovered, investigated, and enforced. 

Add your name to demand the House Oversight Committee investigation Trump’s Partisan Tank Rally!

Thank you for working for peace,

[1] The Washington Post, “How much each flyover cost during Trump’s Fourth of July event
[2] HuffPost, “RNC Giving Out Tickets To Trump’s Hijacked Fourth Of July Celebration
[3] Twitter, “Jim Acosta Tweet
[4] Huff Post, “Trump To Profit Bigly From His D.C. Hotel During July 4th Bash Starring Him
[5] CNBC, “President Trump’s military parade now estimated to cost $92 million
[6] The Washington Post, “Trump’s July 4 event and weekend protests bankrupted D.C. security fund, mayor says

Trump To Profit Bigly From His D.C. Hotel During July 4th Bash Starring Him

Mary Papenfuss / The Huffington Post

“Donald Trump’s Independence Day” as the National Park Service calls it, will include military jets and a speech by the president.

WASHINGTON, DC (June 22, 2019) — President Donald Trump’s Trump International Hotel on federal property in downtown Washington will make a mint for him as guests enjoy a July 4th extravaganza paid for by taxpayers — and featuring the president.

Rooms were sold out for July 3 and July 4 by mid-June, according to the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, an advocacy group that targets government corruption. Rooms for July 5 were still available Thursday from $964 a night to $4,200 a night for a “premier one-bedroom suite.”

The hotel, located in the U.S.-owned Old Post Office building, is at the heart of two major lawsuits claiming it serves as a funnel for money to the Trump family from foreign countries seeking White House favors. Trump earned nearly $41 million from the hotel last year after reneging on a campaign promise to divest from his businesses, according to financial disclosure statements. Ivanka Trump pulled in $4 million from her share in the hotel last year as she worked as a White House adviser.

The hotel is just blocks from the National Mall, where the annual July 4th national blowout is being overhauled by Trump into a partisan “Salute to America” that will include a speech by him, a parade with lots of military bluster and the first-ever flyover of military jets, according to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt. 

Presidents traditionally don’t appear at the celebration in order to preserve its nonpartisan character as a national fete for all. The National Park Service has referred to this year’s event as “President Donald Trump’s Independence Day celebration,” according to The Washington Post.

No [other] modern president has so blatantly profited from his political position before or centered the 4th of July celebration so squarely around himself,” complained Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington. 

The Park Service has staged the traditional fireworks on the Mall for more than half a century, attended by hundreds of thousands of Americans each year. The celebration has been broadcast live on TV since 1947 and has included a free concert on the West Lawn of the Capitol.  

Three Democrats on the Senate Appropriations Committee wrote a letter to Bernhardt Tuesday demanding the price for the Trump bash and asking who was covering the cost. 

“We are deeply troubled that the president’s involvement at the event will turn the long-standing, nonpartisan celebration into a de facto campaign rally conducted at taxpayer expense that will serve to further divide rather than unify the nation,” wrote Sens. Tom Udall of New Mexico, Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland.

“We are also concerned that the decision to expand the event to include a potential presidential address will require the National Park Service to divert resources from other priorities of the Mall or other national park system units at a time when it is facing significant budgetary pressures.”

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