Trump to turn July 4 show into personal primetime spectacle

2019-07-05 03:10:27 GMT2019-07-05 11:10:27(Beijing Time) Sina English

Tanks in the heart of Washington, fighter jets screaming overhead, and a speech from the Lincoln Memorial: President Donald Trump has promised the "show of a lifetime" Thursday as he turns the Fourth of July into a personal primetime extravaganza.

The commander-in-chief and erstwhile Manhattan showman plans to tear up another norm, critics say, by hijacking traditionally non-partisan Independence Day as he seeks re-election.

"Our July 4th Salute to America at the Lincoln Memorial is looking to be really big. It will be the show of a lifetime!" Trump tweeted Wednesday.

"We have the greatest economy anywhere in the world. We have the greatest military anywhere in the world. Not bad!" he added.

Vice President Mike Pence also chimed in via Twitter. "The #SalutetoAmerica at Lincoln Memorial tomorrow [Thursday] night will be a great show and an amazing display of our country's wonderful military!" he wrote.

Usually, said Rich Hanley, a media and popular culture expert at Quinnipiac University, July 4 works as a kind of national ceasefire.

"It's a day when people can set aside their polarized differences ... and raise the flag without entering into political discussions," he said. "Then on the 5th they go back to normal."

But this year, the familiar script is being given a rewrite.

At around 6:30 pm (2230 GMT), Trump will take to the hallowed steps of the Lincoln Memorial for an unprecedented "Salute to America" event that will include a televised address, military hardware and a giant fireworks display. The nation's top military brass will have a front row seat.

The modified Boeing 747 used as Air Force One will fly over, as will noisy, powerful warplanes expected to include F-35s, and jets from the Navy's Blue Angels air show team.

A handful of tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles are stationed near the Lincoln Memorial, although the enormous M1 Abrams tanks are not expected to roll, as their tracks would likely tear up city streets.

(Agencies)

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