President Trump celebrated the story of America as "the greatest political journey in human history" in a Fourth of July commemoration before a soggy but cheering crowd of spectators on the grounds of the Lincoln Memorial, the AP reports. As rain fell on him, Trump called on Americans to "stay true to our cause" during a program that adhered to patriotic themes and hailed an eclectic mix of history's heroes, from the armed forces, space, civil rights, and other endeavors of American life. He largely stuck to his script, avoiding diversions into his agenda or re-election campaign. A late afternoon downpour drenched the capital's Independence Day crowds and Trump's speech unfolded in occasional rain.
The warplanes and presidential aircraft conducted their flyovers as planned, capped by the Navy Blue Angels aerobatics team. By adding his own, one-hour "Salute to America" production to capital festivities that typically draw hundreds of thousands anyway, Trump became the first president since Harry Truman in 1951 to address a crowd at the National Mall on the Fourth of July. Trump set aside a historic piece of real estate—a stretch of the Mall from the Lincoln Monument to the midpoint of the reflecting pool—for a mix of invited military members, Republican and Trump campaign donors, and other bigwigs. Protesters earlier made their voices heard in sweltering heat by the Washington Monument, along the traditional parade route, and elsewhere, while the VIP section at the reflecting pool served as something of a buffer for Trump's event.
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