With at least two tanks now parked close to the Lincoln Memorial, the stage is set for President Trump's Fourth of July "Salute to America." Trump, who will speak at the memorial Thursday evening, has also ordered flyovers from Air Force One and aircraft from each branch of the military, reports the New York Times. The tanks were spotted on flatcars at a DC rail yard Tuesday before they were trucked to the National Mall. The president has described the event as a salute to the military, though critics who accuse Trump of politicizing the holiday—and the military—noted that White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said the president's speech will highlight some of the administration's successes, the AP reports.
After it emerged Tuesday that GOP donors had been given tickets to sit with other VIPs in a special area in front of the memorial, a Republican National Committee spokesman defended the move, saying it was "standard practice for the RNC to receive a small number of tickets to events just as the DNC did under Democrat Presidents." Funding for the event is also controversial: Sources tell the Washington Post that the National Park Service is diverting around $2.5 million in park entrance fees to the event, using money that would normally have gone to park improvements. A spokeswoman for Rep. Betty McCollum, chair of the House Appropriations subcommittee, promised that the Democrat would seek a "full accounting" of the event's cost to taxpayers, which the administration has declined to disclose. (Read more Fourth of July stories.)