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Trump Plans National Mall Blowout Amid Pandemic

Tens of thousands might show up, the AP warns
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 4, 2020 10:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – As coronavirus cases spike, public health officials are pleading with Americans to avoid large crowds and hold more muted Independence Day celebrations, but subdued is not President Donald Trump's style, and he aimed to go big, promising a "special evening" in Washington that could bring tens of thousands to the National Mall, the AP reports. Trump's "Salute for America" celebration on Saturday evening was to include a speech from the White House South Lawn that he said would celebrate American heritage, as well as a military flyover over the city and an enormous fireworks display. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautions that mass gatherings like the one scheduled for Washington present a high risk for spread of the virus.

Trump's surgeon general, Jerome Adams, who has stepped up his call for Americans to wear a mask in public, sidestepped when asked during an interview Friday whether he would caution a loved one from attending such large gatherings. "It's not a yes or no," Adams told NBC's Today Show. "Every single person has to make up their own mind." Interior officials said they would hand out 300,000 face coverings to spectators who gather on the National Mall. Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser, who said she didn't have the right to shut down the holiday spectacle because it’s on federal land, warned the federal government about the obvious dangers of such a large crowd. "Just because someone invites you to a party doesn’t mean you have to go," Bowser tweeted.

(Read more President Trump stories.)

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