Trump emphasizes U.S. military might at “Salute to America”

Posted at 4:17 AM, Jul 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-05 07:42:05-04

President Trump delivered a patriotic history lesson of the American military as stormy weather threatened the nation’s capital on July 4. Mr. Trump honored some of the members of the military in the crowd, as well as different branches of the armed forces.

“The future of American freedom rests on the shoulders of men and women willing to defend it,” Mr. Trump said. “Now is your chance to join our military and make a truly great statement in life and you should do it.”

Mr. Trump also honored other notable Americans, some famous and others who were in the crowd. He honored civil rights icons as well.

The Independence Day celebration has been knocked for how much it will cost taxpayers and the unusual focus on the military and the president himself. Further fueling the controversy, only ticketed attendees — VIPs and others who received tickets through the Pentagon or the Republican National Committee — were able to sit in a large fenced-off area up front. The rest of the public had to arrive on a first-come, first-serve basis much farther from where Mr. Trump was speaking.

Trump arrives back at the White House

Mr. Trump’s motorcade arrived back at the White House at 7:43 p.m. He is expected to remain there through the fireworks.

Trump wraps up speech, avoiding overly political tones

Mr. Trump wrapped up his speech and the military flyovers just before 7:30 p.m. with the song, “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” sung and played by the band near the stage.

Many Trump critics feared the president’s speech would dabble in politicized language, on the taxpayers’ dime. But Mr. Trump largely stuck to the script, offering historical snapshots and praise for the military.

Mr. Trump, as he often does at rallies, lingered on stage, waving and stopping for photos from guests on the stage.

Following the ceremony, the president and first lady are returning to the White House.

The fireworks, which technically aren’t a part of his “Salute to America,” begin shortly after 9 p.m.

Mr. Trump, during his rendition of history and mentioning of the landing on the Moon, said the U.S. is returning to outer-space. The U.S., Mr. Trump insisted, “will plant the American flag on Mars.”The president has taken a special interest in space exploration, most markedly with adding the “Space Force” service to the Pentagon.

Trump kicks off his speech before an enthusiastic crowd

President Trump kicked off his speech after walking on stage with first lady Melania Trump.”Hello America. Hello,” he started off. “The first lady and I wish each and every one of you a happy Independence Day on this truly historic Fourth of July.”Mr. Trump said he and attendees are there to celebrate the nation’s history and their military, before introducing top military officials.

Vice President Mike Pence arrives

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen Pence, arrived on stage at roughly 6:17 p.m.

Also spotted near the vice president on stage were Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, and GOP Rep. Mark Meadows.

Trump might be slightly delayed, but not by much, according to him.”Weather looking good, clearing rapidly and temperatures going down fast. See you in 45 minutes, 6:30 to 7:00 P.M. at Lincoln Memorial!” the president tweeted just before 6 p.m.He has been scheduled to arrive at 6:20 p.m., along with the first lady, and speak at 6:30 p.m.

Three times as many D.C. National Guard troops dispatched for July 4th than usual

Roughly three times as many members of the D.C. National Guard have been dispatched for this Fourth of July in D.C. compared to previous years, Lt. Colonel Mike Odle, spokesman for the D.C. National Guard, confirmed to CBS News.

This year, there are roughly 800 soldiers and airmen keeping an eye on the city. Typically, that number is more like 215 to 300.

Excerpts of Trump’s prepared speech

The White House has released excerpts of the president’s speech, as prepared for delivery. That doesn’t mean he will stick to the remarks.

Here are some excerpts:

  • “Today, we come together as ONE NATION with this very special Salute to America. We celebrate our history, our people, and the heroes who proudly defend our flag–the brave men and women of the United States Military!
  • As we gather this evening in the joy of freedom, we remember that we ALL share a truly extraordinary heritage. Together, we are part of one of the greatest stories ever told–the story of AMERICA.
  • That same American Spirit that emboldened our founders has kept us strong throughout our history. To this day, that spirit runs through the veins of every American patriot. It lives on in each and every one of YOU.
  • Today, just as it did 243 years ago, the future of American Freedom rests on the shoulders of men and women willing to defend it.
  • As long as we stay true to our cause–as long as we remember our great history–and as long as we never stop fighting for a better future–then there will be NOTHING that America cannot do.”

Attendees caught in the rain

Attendees waiting for “Salute to America” to start got caught in the rain at 5 p.m., with some prepared and some less prepared. Some attendees covered themselves in ponchos, others had umbrellas, and still others just let the rain pour.