RNA - This year’s Fourth of July celebrations in the US will feature an address by the president from the Lincoln Memorial, where tanks will be stationed and military aircraft will perform flyovers while fire work will last longer than usual.
One of the flyovers will be performed by a B-2 nuclear bomber, a flight that the Washington Post says could cost around $700,000.
Two F-22 Raptor stealth jet fighters are also scheduled to fly over the area at a cost of around $300,000.
A performance by the US Navy Blue Angels aerobatics team is expected to cost at least $320,000, and last but not least, two F-35 jets will finish off the long list by performing flyovers that cost upward of $660,000.
These figures, based on a conservative analysis using Pentagon flight-cost estimates and other military data about the aircraft, show that the aerial review portion of Trump’s expanded July 4 event by about two dozen aircraft may cost more than $2 million.
That is not the only cost as the National Park Service is believed to have diverted an estimated $2.5 million to fund a series of other celebratory activities.
There are also military activities on the ground, which will include shipping two M1A2 Abrams tanks on rail cars from Fort Stewart in Georgia along with other armored vehicles that are expected to flank Trump as he speaks Thursday evening.
This is while, former Park Service deputy director Denis P. Galvin told the Post that the entire Fourth of July celebration typically costs the agency about $2 million.
Trump tried to stage similar celebrations in Washington last year but changed his mind after his aides told him that a parade of this magnitude would cost taxpayers $92 million, including $50 million in Pentagon money.
The Pentagon has yet to provide official figures on the cost of the celebrations.
Tom Crosson, a Pentagon spokesman, said Wednesday that the costs won’t be clear until after the event because each service branch will pay for its own aircraft to participate.
An unnamed Pentagon official told the Post that said that the services were going to muddy the waters and make it difficult to determine the costs by using allotments of training hours from the units involved.
Trump on Wednesday, defended the costs in a tweet, saying the celebration’s costs were going to be “very little compared to what it is worth.”
“We own the planes, we have the pilots, the airport is right next door (Andrews), all we need is the fuel,” Trump tweeted. “We own the tanks and all. Fireworks are donated by two of the greats. Nice!”
The cost of our great Salute to America tomorrow will be very little compared to what it is worth. We own the planes, we have the pilots, the airport is right next door (Andrews), all we need is the fuel. We own the tanks and all. Fireworks are donated by two of the greats. Nice!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 3, 2019
The Post wrote that the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber costs about $140,000 per hour to fly.
The Blue Angels will travel be flying eight F/A-18 Hornets which cost about $10,000 per hours to fly.
More cost will be added by the C-130 aircraft nicknamed “Fat Albert,” which also travels with the Blue Angels in a support role.
Democrats also objected to the costs on Wednesday, with some pointing out reports that the White House was distributing VIP tickets for Trump’s speech at the Lincoln Memorial to Republican donors and political appointees.
“This business of diverting money and military assets to use them as some kind of prop, to prop up a presidential ego, is not reflecting well on our country,” said Democratic Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg.
Senator Robert Menendez called the situation “shameful.”
Steve Ellis, president of the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense said the military was popular among Americans and didn’t need the celebration.
“This is all an unnecessary and distracting expense from an event that already celebrates the nation’s birth in the nation’s capital with a parade, a concert, and a fireworks show,” he said. “People don’t need a fly by to be impressed by our country’s military men and women.”