MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Thousands poured into our nation’s Capitol as President Donald Trump took center stage in a rebranded Independence Day on the Mall.
It’s “A Salute to America,” accompanied by United States tanks and fighter jets — a gathering inspired by what the president witnessed while attending a Bastille Day celebration in France.
Fourth District DFL Congresswoman Betty McCollum criticized the president’s decision to hold the event.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate for the president to be turning this, the Lincoln Memorial and the Fourth of July into a political rally,” McCollum said.
“It’s real polarizing. It seems like you either got to be for Trump or against Trump, and now that’s your calling card,” said Marine Veteran David Easter.
Along the Mississippi River, at the Hasting’s American Legion, some people we spoke with say they stand behind a parade to show off our nation’s assets.
“I think it’s amazing. I love it. I love it,” said Debbie Kjelleson of Hastings. “It shows our strength, it shows our patriotism, it honors the people who serve for us so we can have our freedoms.”
Other politicians are upset that VIP tickets were given to Republican donors and political appointees.
“Trump wants to have the biggest parade in American history, and what better way to do it than on a Fourth of July,” Easter said.
Most here feel our nation’s birthday is not a time to bicker with one another. Vietnam Veteran Jim Naats believes no matter how you feel about the pomp and circumstances, in the end we are all Americans, and July 4th is a day to be proud of that fact.
“Getting together, and being one and just representing America on the Fourth of July,” Naats said.
President Trump has defended the expense, saying it would be the show of a lifetime, and would cost very little compared to what it is worth.
Congresswoman McCollum also says she will hold a hearing on the decision to use National Park fees to pay for the event.