Rep. Don Beyer, a Democrat who represents the Virginia suburbs just across the Potomac River from Washington, demanded Tuesday that President Trump personally pay for any damage from the tanks and other military equipment that the president is deploying for the Fourth of July celebration.
Mr. Beyer called the spectacle “authoritarian-style” and warned of public lands being chewed up by the tanks.
“Since President Trump is turning the region’s beloved annual tradition into a campaign event focused on himself, he should personally reimburse U.S. taxpayers and local governments for any damage to local infrastructure,” the congressman said.
Mr. Trump, who has long been an admirer of martial displays in other countries, is piggybacking on Washington’s annual Independence Day fireworks and concert with a planned speech and military display.
On Monday, the president confirmed that will include tanks — though he said the military will tread lightly.
“You’ve got to be pretty careful with the tanks because the roads have a tendency not to like to carry heavy tanks, so we have to put them in certain areas,” the president said.
He said there will be “brand new” Sherman and Abrams tanks. The Sherman tank, used in World War II, went out of service during the Cold War — though the Abrams tank is still current.
Mr. Trump also said there will be jet fighters “and other planes, too.”
His plans have sparked confusion within the government and ridicule among many Washingtonians who wonder how it will affect the usual celebration.
Mr. Beyer pointed out that an Abrams tank weighs more than 60 tons.
The congressman is the latest lawmaker to get involved in Mr. Trump’s Fourth of July plans.
Rep. Tim Ryan, part of the Democrats’ large field of 2020 presidential hopefuls, fired off a letter to the Pentagon and Interior and Transportation departments Tuesday demanding cost estimates and more information on the decision-making.
“What is supposed to be a day to celebrate our country has turned into a Trump political rally,” said Mr. Ryan, Ohio Democrat. “We know we’re the most powerful country in the world, we don’t need to brag about it. This isn’t North Korea.”
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