Latest cost to feed Trump’s ego: $5.4 million

President Donald Trump speaks during an Independence Day celebration in front of the Lincoln Memorial, Thursday, July 4, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

President Donald Trump’s July Fourth extravaganza — featuring tanks, a military flyover, and a Trump speech at the Lincoln Memorial — cost an estimated $5.4 million, according to rough figures Thursday.

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt provided the latest share of costs, $2.45 million for his agency, in a letter to lawmakers, saying his agency pulled money from operating funds for national parks, recreation fees, and another source to help fund Trump’s Salute to America.

The event included donated fireworks, a military flyover, and Trump’s speech to a rained-on crowd at the Lincoln Memorial.

Trump announced Monday he would do it all again next year , calling the event “remarkable.”

Democratic lawmakers have condemned the extra expenditures for the Independence Day celebration, which came in addition to the traditional concert, fireworks and events held at near the U.S. Capitol.

Arizona Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee and one of several Democrats who had demanded a full cost accounting, said in response to Interior’s funding estimates that the public funds were spent to “celebrate President Trump.”

Bernhardt called the use of public funds justified, and cited past administrations’ spending for concerts, parades and other celebrations in and around the National Mall. Interior’s costs included crowd accommodations such as temporary fencing and portable toilets.

In addition, the Department of Defense says its costs came to $1.2 million. Despite repeated requests, the Pentagon as of Thursday refused to provide a precise breakdown.

The military’s efforts included positioning tanks on flat-bed trailers around the capital, meeting Trump’s desire for tanks while minimizing damage to district roads from the heavy armor.

Separately, Washington Mayor Muriel E. Bowser wrote Trump to say the district’s costs for Trump’s July Fourth event have drained a special fund used to provide security and protect the nation’s capital from terrorist threats.

The District of Columbia estimates it spent about $1.7 million — not including police expenses for related demonstrations.

Bowser wrote Trump that the fund will have a $6 million deficit by September, reminding the president that the account was never reimbursed for $7.3 million in expenses from Trump’s 2017 inauguration.

White House spokesman Judd Deere says officials will respond “in a timely manner.”

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Lolita Baldor contributed.

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It’s mourning in America on this July 4th

In The New York Times, a newspaper I honor and respect, the lead editorial raises the question: “America started over once.  Can we do it again?”

The editorial focuses on America’s 14th Amendment, which redefined America 150 years ago after the civil war that tore the nation apart.

Noted the Times:

Another truth soon became self-evident: If America was to survive, it would have to be reborn. That rebirth was embodied — after 80 years and a brutal civil war — in the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments, which together represented a radical recommitment to our first and highest principles. They outlawed slavery, made the newly freed slaves American citizens and guaranteed their right to vote.

The 150th anniversary of ratification of the 14th Amendment arrives Monday, July 9, also the day that controversial and contentious president Donald John Trump promises to announced his selection as nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court justice Antony Kennedy.

That nominee will be a hard-core conservative destined to turn the highest court in the land into a right-wing body expected to overturn legal abortion in this country, strip the right of same-sex couples to marry and rollback many other rulings in the coming months and years.

During his campaign for the presidency, Trump said “the 14th Amendment is very questionable as to whether or not somebody can come over and have a baby and immediately that baby is a citizen, O.K.?”

American law guarantees “birthright citizenship” but our president routinely ignores laws he doesn’t like if they get in his way, which many often do.  He embraces “white nationalism” and is a known racist and bigot.  He has worked to pack federal courts of all levels with those who embrace his racist views.

For example, more than half a dozen of Trump’s federal judicial nominees went on record to disagree with the Supreme Court’s landmark decision of Brown v. Board of Education, which outlawed racial segregation of public schools.

As we try to celebrate America’s birthday, let’s remember that Trump, in his campaign, promised to seek removal of the 14th Amendment “in my second term.”

And what does this 14th Amendment say?  This:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Donald Trump wants that amendment removed from the U.S. Constitution.  On Monday, he will nominate a man he hopes will make that happen.

In America today, we pause to celebrate a nation currently led by a racist, a bigot, a hater and…a traitor.

We should be in mourning.

Better yet, we must work night and day to drive this traitor from our government our beloved nation and our lives.

That, and only that, will make America great again.

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