For what Politico has styled "Trump's takeover of the Fourth of July celebration," the U.S. Military brought a couple of M1 Bradley Armored Personnel Carriers into the heart of Washington, D.C. Tuesday night, a moment HuffPost described as a "surreal scene" and footage of which has been posted online. The tanks are among the half-dozen or so military vehicles that will be included in the "Salute to America" event around the Lincoln Memorial, which will also feature the standard fireworks and flyover — and for which Trump has been decried by the Left for his "authoritarian" display of military power.
"In a surreal scene, tanks rolled into Washington D.C. on Tuesday to participate in President Donald Trump’s Independence Day event," HuffPost reported Tuesday in a piece highlighting some of the footage as well as comments by Army Col. Sunset Belinsky to a Washington-based CBS affiliate reassuring the public that there's no need to "panic."
"Residents of the Capitol City will see the vehicles move through their neighborhoods, but should not panic,” said Col. Belinsky. HuffPost also quotes D.C. Democrat Eleanor Holmes Norton denouncing Trump for "robbing" the people of the nonpartisan celebration. "This robs us of the one holiday where everybody comes together and doesn’t even look at you to find out what your political party is," she said.
Some of the footage of "Trump's tanks" that's made the rounds online:
And as is the case with so many Trump-led events, the mainstream media is uncertain about how to cover his "takeover" of the Fourth. Politico provides a rundown of how the networks plan to approach it, most notably MSNBC, which is considering effectively blacking it out.
"President Donald Trump’s takeover of the Fourth of July celebration at the National Mall won’t completely take over the cable airwaves," Politico reports. "MSNBC, for one, doesn’t plan to carry his “Salute to America” live, though the network will assess in real time whether to air clips of the event, a spokesperson told POLITICO."
While MSNBC appears to be leaning toward acting like the event isn't happening, Fox News is planning to dedicate a couple of hours to the event in a two-hour edition of "Special Report," Politico notes.
The other cable news outlet, CNN, meanwhile, just happens to be airing a special on the rise of white nationalism starting at 7 p.m., in what some might consider a curious choice for July 4th programming.
ABC News will air the "Salute to America" on its streaming channel ABC News Live, as will CBS on CBSN and NBC on NBC News NOW. CSPAN will likewise be streaming the event.
NBC News, which has covered the event with a little less slant online, provides a summary of what to expect: "Tanks. Troops. The president. The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, the U.S. Army Band, the Armed Forces Chorus, the U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon, and the U.S. Navy Blue Angels are all part of the program."
NBC quotes Trump about the need to be "pretty careful" with the tanks, but not because of a fear of "panic": "We gotta be pretty careful with the tanks because the roads have a tendency not to like to carry heavy tanks, so we have to put them in certain areas," he said.
Unlike Norton and her fellow Democrats, Trump is amped up about the event. "Big 4th of July in D.C. 'Salute to America.'" he tweeted Tuesday. "The Pentagon & our great Military Leaders are thrilled to be doing this & showing to the American people, among other things, the strongest and most advanced Military anywhere in the World. Incredible Flyovers & biggest ever Fireworks!"