The Pentagon says it probably won't know how much Trump's Fourth of July blowout will cost taxpayers until it's over

The Pentagon says it probably won't know how much Trump's Fourth of July blowout will cost taxpayers until it's over

m1 abrams tank

Jose Luis Magana/AP

Abrams tanks are seen on a flat car in a rail yard, Tuesday, July 2, 2019, in Washington, ahead of a Fourth of July celebration that President Donald Trump says will include military hardware.

  • President Donald Trump's "A Salute to America" event for the Fourth of July will feature flyovers by military aircraft and static displays of armored vehicles, among other things.
  • The big event follows a failed attempt last year to organize a massive military parade, which was ultimately canceled due to cost estimates as high as $92 million.
  • A Pentagon spokesman told INSIDER that it probably wouldn't have an estimate on the cost of the event, the plans for which caught some in the department off guard, until after the event is over.
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President Donald Trump is pulling out all the stops for a big Fourth of July event in the nation's capital that will include flyovers by military aircraft and armored vehicles on the National Mall. The Pentagon says it probably won't have an estimate on how much the event will cost until after it's over.

The celebratory event - "A Salute to America" - will see stealth fighter and bombers, among other military aircraft, flying over Washington, DC, as well as static displays featuring tanks and other tracked armor, which began moving into the downtown area Tuesday evening. There will also be a big parade, a massive fireworks display, and a presidential address.

Read more: Here's all the military firepower Trump wants to show off at his big Fourth of July bash

The president tweeted Tuesday that the planned Fourth of July bash is about, among other things, showing off "the strongest and most advanced Military anywhere in the World."


"We have some incredible equipment, military equipment on display - brand new," he told press on Monday. "We're going to have a great Fourth of July in Washington, D.C. It'll be like no other."

Last year, Trump ordered the Pentagon to start planning a massive military parade, but he decided to cancel it after reports revealed that the planned display of American firepower could cost as much as $92 million, significantly more than the initial estimate of $12 million.

Critics of the president's attempts to organize this type of event have argued that he is using the military for his own political gain, but Trump insists that this is about celebrating the armed forces.

A Department of Defense spokesman told INSIDER that the Pentagon is working on a cost estimate but does not currently have one for the upcoming Independence Day activities. He said that any cost estimate for the event would likely be provided "post-event."

Asked if there was a chance that the Pentagon could get an estimate together before the festivities, he said, "I am not optimistic." The Defense Department spokesman revealed that the plans to incorporate tanks and other military equipment into this event came as a bit of a surprise, leaving it scrambling to get answers on some of the details.


President Donald Trump defended the unknown costs of the upcoming event on Twitter Wednesday, writing, "The cost of our great Salute to America tomorrow will be very little compared to what it is worth."

"We own the planes, we have the pilots, the airport is right next door (Andrews), all we need is the fuel. We own the tanks and all," he added, referring to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.

It's very unusual for the president to celebrate July 4th with an address and military jets streaking over, with armored vehicles set up as backdrops. Military celebrations in the nation's capital are traditionally only held after victories in war.

A National Victory Celebration featuring troops, armored vehicles, and aircraft was held in the capital following the conclusion of Operation Desert Storm in 1991. Also, the US Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and John F. Kennedy all incorporated military assets into their inaugurations.