President Trump has talked for years about hosting a patriotic parade in Washington, and on Sunday he announced that something of the sort would take place in a Fourth of July “gathering” at the Lincoln Memorial.
“HOLD THE DATE!” Mr. Trump said in a tweet about the event, which he said would be called “A Salute to America.”
The president, who is also fond of hosting rallies for his supporters, added that the celebration would include a “major fireworks display, entertainment and an address by your favorite President, me!”
Mr. Trump has long said he wanted to stage a display of American military might, musing about a parade on Pennsylvania Avenue or a Veterans Day extravaganza. He got the idea after watching a Bastille Day parade on the Champs-Élysées in 2017, but was stymied last year by spiraling costs that rendered his vision too expensive.
It was unclear whether the Independence Day celebration he announced on Sunday would include any type of parade, or a display of tanks, fighter planes and troops.
On social media, critics questioned how the event would differ from Mr. Trump’s campaign rallies and accused him of taking credit for an Independence Day celebration that happens on the National Mall every year.
“It is a shame that Donald Trump has decided to hijack the already-planned, non-political Capitol Fourth, to honor himself with a rally,” VoteVets, a progressive veterans group, said on Twitter. “If it involves the military parading to boost his ego, we will do everything we can to stop it.”
Mr. Trump said at a meeting of his cabinet at the White House this month that he was envisioning “a gathering, as opposed to a parade, I guess you’d have to say.”
He enlisted David Bernhardt, the acting secretary of the interior, whose department oversees the National Park Service, to help plan it. “David, you’re taking care of that, and we’ll see how it works out with schedules and everything else,” Mr. Trump said at the meeting.
On Sunday, Mr. Trump indicated that the event would take place, but few details were available. In a statement on Sunday, the Interior Department said the National Park Service was “working diligently to provide the president with a plan for Salute to America,” adding, “At this time, everything is pre-decisional.”
Jim Mattis, the former defense secretary, famously objected to having the American military march in lock step down Constitution Avenue, flanked by tanks and fighter planes. The Defense Department estimated the cost last year for a Veterans Day parade at $92 million, sending the White House into sticker shock and prompting Mr. Trump to fold on his order.
During his meeting at the White House, Mr. Trump said he had already found some savings: “free” fireworks. The event would coincide with the annual fireworks put on by the National Park Service, which paid $270,000 for an 18-minute show last year.
Mr. Trump has seemed smitten with the idea of a military parade since the early days of his presidency. The committee planning his inaugural ceremony reportedly explored, but rejected, using military equipment in the traditional parade from the Capitol to the White House.
In July 2017, Mr. Trump witnessed the grandeur of a military parade at the annual Bastille Day celebration in Paris. He could be seen gesticulating and whispering at the elaborate display of tanks, soldiers on horseback and military jets flying overhead.
“We are going to have to try and top it,” he said.