When Donald Trump holds an Independence Day celebration with fireworks, flyovers and battle tanks at the heart of American democracy on the Fourth of July, critics fear that he will be unable to resist turning it into a vainglorious and politically divisive campaign rally.
They are also demanding that the US president foot the bill for any damage caused to Washington’s roads, bridges and monuments by his “authoritarian-style” display of military pomp.
The US president will deliver an Independence Day speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial, which honours the president who won the civil war and helped end slavery and was the site of civil rights leader Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech a century later.
The Rev William Barber, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, tweeted: “Trump is creating a spectacle of tanks & missiles on the National Mall where the great protests for civil & human rights have been held at a time when 140 million Americans are poor & low income. He thinks this is the sign of strength, but it’s a damn narcissistic travesty.”
Trump was in exuberant mood about the event on social media on Wednesday.
“It will be the show of a lifetime!” he tweeted.