/Democrats urge Trump to rethink July 4 plans

Democrats urge Trump to rethink July 4 plans

Raúl Grijalva

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Natural Resources Chairman Raúl Grijalva (shown) and Rep. Betty McCollum expressed their concerns to the president in a letter. | Alex Edelman/Getty Images

Three senior House Democrats are urging President Donald Trump to reconsider his plans to speak at the Fourth of July celebration on the National Mall.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Natural Resources Chairman Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), who oversees the Appropriations subpanel that funds Interior, expressed fears Trump’s plans “could create the appearance of a televised, partisan campaign rally on the Mall at public expense” and waste taxpayer dollars.

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“For decades, the Fourth of July on the National Mall has been non-partisan and apolitical,” they wrote in a letter Thursday. “We respectfully call on you to look for ways to complement, not conflict with, the Fourth of July celebration, such as considering an earlier time or alternative location for your remarks.”

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt promised a Senate Appropriations subpanel in late May he would ensure Trump’s remarks were non-partisan and would not aggrandize him, which would violate federal spending laws.

“I think it’s fantastic that the president might take time to join folks on the National Mall to celebrate America’s Independence Day,” Bernhardt said in response to a question from Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.). “I will make absolutely sure that every dollar we spend will comply with the law — I will promise you that.”

Trump first announced his plans for a “major fireworks display, entertainment and an address by your favorite President, me!” in a late February tweet.

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