President Trump has organized a special Fourth of July event to take place on the National Mall which he dubbed “a salute to America,” and the liberal broadcast networks were not pleased with it. Combined, ABC’s World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, and NBC Nightly News insisted Trump is set to divide the country, make it all about himself, and veterans are angry about it.
ABC came off as seemingly afraid of our troops when fill-in anchor and White House correspondent Cecilia Vega suggested there was “growing backlash” to the “parade, a concert, and a show of military force taking place in the nation's capital.”
Chief global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz said “Trump's unusual 4th of July address to the nation” would include “a salute where the military will play a big part. The President has been fixated on a grand military display since he saw the Bastille Day celebration in France.” She also claimed veterans hated the idea of the event based on the opinion of one group she spoke to.
There was a similar tone on NBC where chief White House correspondent Hallie Jackson reported that the arrival of military vehicles “ahead of a July 4th celebration that's already creating fireworks. President Trump beefing up the traditional festivities with the display of military might.”
Because the VIP list reportedly included Republican donors (as if President Obama didn’t invite his donors and celebrity friends to such events), Jackson elevated “critics” who were “concerned the President's high jacking the holiday, putting politics over patriotism, and forcing taxpayers to foot the bill. One Democrat deriding it as a ‘vanity’ project.”
NBC anchor, Lester Holt also boosted Democratic gripes. “In Washington, tanks have arrived for President Trump's July 4th military salute, but some Democrats are accusing him of exploiting the annual celebration,” he announced at the top of the segment.
CBS chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett had a snarky attitude as he described how “in recent years, 4th of July on the National Mall has been a tribute to universal American themes, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, a star-spangled civic hymn. This year, by design, it will be much more about him.” As he was delivering that line, an image of Trump appeared on the screen.
In addition, Spanish-language networks Telemundo and Univision also had their own condemnations for the Fourth of July event. “Under the complete direction of President Trump this Independence Day will be untraditional, there will be an exhibition of tanks and other military vehicles, which are in Washington on a rail parking lot, something that has sparked controversy,” reported Dulce Castellanos of Univision.
Telemundo spoke with one man who exclaimed: “With this President, there is no joy because for me that man does not even love his mother who brought him into the world.” However, they did at least include one supporter of the event.
Meanwhile, none of the major broadcasts networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) spoke with anyone who supported the event, outside soundbites from Trump. But ABC and NBC did rely on Democratic D.C. non-voting representative, Eleanor Holmes Norton, who told ABC: “[Trump] is not respecting the traditions of this city and region and it is much resented.” She also asserted to NBC that he was dividing the country with the Fourth of July event.
The transcripts are below, click "expand" to read:
ABC’s World News Tonight
July 2, 2019
6:40:29 p.m. Eastern
CECILIA VEGA: We'll turn now to that growing backlash over President Trump's fourth of July plans. A parade, a concert, and a show of military force taking place in the nation's capital. These tanks are on their way from Fort Stewart, Georgia, by rail. The President says it's to honor the military, but there are questions about just how much it will cost and whether his speech from the Lincoln Memorial will turn the holiday into a partisan event. Here's ABC's chief global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz.
[Cuts to video]
MARTHA RADDATZ: At the Lincoln Memorial today, workers hanging bunting and setting up the presidential podium for President Trump's unusual 4th of July address to the nation.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: It's going to be about this country and it is a salute to America.
RADDATZ: A salute where the military will play a big part. The President has been fixated on a grand military display since he saw the Bastille Day celebration in France. Thursday's event on the national mall will include military units and flyovers by Air Force One and the Blue Angels.
TRUMP: The best fighter jets in the world and other planes, too, and we're going to have some tanks stationed outside.
RADDATZ: Those tanks spotted today in Washington, to the dismay of the city council, which tweeted "Tanks but no tanks." They worry all the military hardware, even though the 60-ton tanks will be stationary, will damage the national mall.
ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON: He is not respecting the traditions of this city and region and it is much resented.
RADDATZ: The administration won't say how much this will cost. The White House insists the extravaganza is about patriotism, not politics. And it is open to the public, although some VIPs tickets have been given to the Republican national committee to hand out. So far, nothing for Democrats.
[Cuts back to live]
VEGA: Okay, Martha Raddatz joins us now from Washington. And the President tweeting today that the Pentagon and top military leaders are thrilled to be doing this. Is that what you're hearing from your sources?
RADDATZ: Well, Cecilia, this is a time when there are concerns about the military being politicized and some have I talked to say there is a whiff of politics in this. The head of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans of America saying this has the potential to divide and polarize and is the very opposite of what this holiday should exemplify. Cecilia?
VEGA: Martha, thank you.
CBS Evening News
July 2, 2019
6:37:55 p.m. Eastern
DAVID BEGNAUD: There will be a celebration Thursday in the nation's capital, and the tanks have already arrived. Major Garrett now on how this Independence day will be different.
[Cuts to video]
MAJOR GARRETT: In recent years, 4th of July on the National Mall has been a tribute to universal American themes, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, a star-spangled civic hymn. This year by design it will be much more about him.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: And I'm going to be here. And I'm going to say a few words. And we're going to have planes going overhead, the best fighter jets in the world and other planes, too. And we're going to have some tanks stationed outside.
GARRETT: Two tanks and two infantry fighting vehicles arrived by train today, power washed before being trucked to the mall, where they will stay put to prevent their treads from tearing up city streets.
Air Force One and Marine One will fly over, as will a B-2 bomber, F-22 fighter jets, Osprey helicopters, and the Blue Angels. The largest concentration of military might in Washington since the end of the first Gulf War.
President Trump will speak from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial before White House approved VIPs, including Republican Party donors. Mr. Trump has wanted a big military parade in Washington since attending France's Bastille Day in 2017.
TRUMP: I don't know. We're going to have to try and top it. But, we had a lot of planes going over and we had a lot of military might. And it was really a beautiful thing to see.
GARRETT: Mike Litterst is with the National Park Service.
MIKE LITTERST: This is the first time we've seen something of this size and this scale at the Lincoln Memorial on the 4th of July.
[Cuts back to live]
GARRETT: Taxpayers will spend more for the President's appearance and staging, more for military maneuvers, more for additional security on the National Mall. Taxpayers, however, will not spend an extra penny on the longer fireworks display, twice as long as in years past, thanks to a donation from two fireworks companies. David.
NBC Nightly News
July 2, 2019
7:11:09 p.m. Eastern
LESTER HOLT: In Washington, tanks have arrived for President Trump's July 4th military salute, but some Democrats are accusing him of exploiting the annual celebration. NBC's Hallie Jackson has more from the White House.
[Cuts to video]
HALLIE JACKSON: Spotted in southwest Washington today, two Bradleys and a pair of Abrams tanks arriving in town over the weekend, all ahead of a July 4 celebration that's already creating fireworks. President Trump beefing up the traditional festivities with the display of military might.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We're going to have planes going overhead, the best fighter jets in the world. [Transition] We're going to have some tanks stationed outside.
JACKSON: The President delighted by the Bastille Day parade he attended in France is now bringing something similar to Washington. Fly-overs featuring the F-35 and probably Air Force One. Near the stage, it's VIPs who get the best view for a spectacle that has some critics concerned the President's high jacking the holiday, putting politics over patriotism, and forcing taxpayers to foot the bill. One Democrat deriding it as a “vanity” project.
ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON: Mr. President, how about a hot dog and a hamburger rather than an extravaganza that divides the country?