The White House has confirmed that President Donald Trump will host a 4th of July event despite pleas from lawmakers to cancel over concerns regarding the coronavirus pandemic, media reports said.
In a statement on Friday, the White House announced that the President and First Lady Melania Trump, with the Interior Department, will host the 2020 “Salute to America” on the South Lawn of the White House and Ellipse on July 4, The Hill news website reported.
The event will feature music, military demonstrations and flyovers to celebrate the nation’s service members and veterans, as well as an address from the President.
Donald Trump first hosted a “Salute for America” on July 4, 2019, bringing troops, tanks, helicopters and fighter jets to the streets of the nation’s capital.
But this year’s event comes despite pushback from lawmakers that holding a mass gathering could put people at risk of contracting the coronavirus, which has so far infected 2,219,976 people and killed 119,099 others in the country.
Both tallies are currently the highest in the world.
Ten lawmakers representing the National Capital Region sent a letter to the secretaries of the Defense and Interior on Tuesday expressing “serious concerns” about the possibility of a gathering sparking an outbreak, noting that stay-at-home orders in Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Maryland were still in effect.
Two days before Friday’s announcement, the White House had that “there will be an Independence Day celebration this year and it will have a different look than 2019 to ensure the health and safety of those attending”.
A Politico news report said on Friday that day the before this year’s planned “Salute to America”, Trump will be in South Dakota to watch a military flyover at Mount Rushmore.
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem said social distancing will not be enforced at the July 3 event.