Trump swipes $2.5 million from national park maintenance to ruin July 4 in DC


Instead of repairing roads at national parks around the country, Trump is stealing the money to hijack the nation's Independence Day celebrations.

The Trump administration is stealing a total of $2.5 million from national park entrance and recreation fees — money that should go to habitat restoration or repairing roads in national parks — in order to pay for Trump's hijacking of July 4 celebrations in Washington, D.C., the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

That $2.5 million is "just a fraction of the extra costs" needed to cover the event, the Post notes. But the Trump administration refuses to say how much Trump's self-aggrandizing stunt will cost taxpayers in total.

Trump will speak in the early evening from the Lincoln Memorial. He is insisting on tanks, armored vehicles, and fighter jets to be part of his event, in what the Washington Post editorial board calls "a gaudy display of military hardware ... more in keeping with a banana republic than the world's oldest democracy."

The Trump administration is cordoning off a large part of the national mall for VIP guests, many of whom will be wealthy Republican donors who received tickets from the Republican National Committee. Rather than a celebration for the public, Trump is making the festivities look more like a campaign rally centered on himself, not America.

And taxpayers are footing the bill, at the expense of national parks around the country. National parks already face a cash crunch, with a whopping $12 billion need for deferred maintenance. But Trump would rather spend millions acting like a banana republic dictator than address the country's needs.

"This is a breach of trust with the public," Theresa Pierno, president and CEO of the National Parks Conservation Association, told the Post in an email. "The public pays parks fees to fix national parks and for educational programs, not the president's parade."

And the costs could soar after the event is over. The tanks and armored vehicles Trump is insisting on having weigh so much they could damage the roads around Washington, D.C., as well as the National Mall.

Trump already caused national parks to miss out on roughly $400,000 in fees every day during the 35-day government shutdown at the end of 2018 and beginning of 2019.

And now, he's stealing another $2.5 million to force Americans to celebrate him instead of their country's independence.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.