President Donald Trump did not walk back his administration’s plan of holding a July 4 parade in Washington, DC even after local politicians penned a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, warning about possible dangers of a parade during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As President Trump has said, there will be an Independence Day celebration this year and it will have a different look than 2019 to ensure the health and safety of those attending,” White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere confirmed in a statement.
Deere added that Americans “deserve celebration on America’s birthday this year” as they have “shown tremendous courage and spirit in the fight against this global pandemic just as our forefathers did in the fight to secure our independence.”
On Tuesday, a group of Democratic lawmakers from the DC area, Maryland’s two senators and eight House members representing the region, recently raised their concerns in a letter addressing Esper and Bernhardt, saying that such a parade could have “detrimental impacts” on the residents of the region and other attendees as the coronavirus outbreak is far from over.
“Given the current COVID-19 crisis, we believe that such an event would needlessly risk the health and safety of thousands of Americans,” the Democrats wrote in the letter. “Further, this event would come at the cost of millions of taxpayer dollars while we are facing an unprecedented economic downturn due to the pandemic.”
Moreover, the District of Columbia’s ban on gatherings of more than 10 people remains in place, while the first phase of its reopening begins on Friday.
President Trump told the media last month that he was planning to hold the July Fourth celebration in DC
“We’ll be doing what we had at the Mall. We’re going to be doing it. Last year was a tremendous success and I would imagine we’ll do it, hopefully I can use the term ‘forever.'”