The only problem with the Fourth of July, from Donald Trump’s point of view, is it’s too much about America and not enough about him. That’s all going to change this year, supposedly. In an unprecedented rearrangement of the usual festivities, Trump has ordered that this year’s official Washington, D.C., Fourth of July fireworks display be relocated from the Mall to Potomac Park, which lies between the famous reflecting pool of the Lincoln memorial and the Potomac River. The point to this change, of course, is it will give Trump an opportunity to “address the nation” from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, a nightmare scenario intended no doubt as competition with, if not downright negation of, Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech.
Reportedly, Trump has (unusually) involved himself in the actual minutiae of the event, according to the Washington Post, obsessively calling for frequent briefings on the progress of its planning. Aides report that, “the president has shown interest in the event that he often does not exhibit for other administration priorities.” In other words, doing his job isn’t half as important as planning a big party, particularly when Trump is the star of the show.
The provenance for this hare brained connivance can be traced to Trump’s presence at the Bastille Day Parade along the Champs-Élysées two years ago. So impressed was Trump by such a satisfyingly martial cortège of murder weapons on wheels that he wanted one just like it all for himself. The idea was met with such understandable universal outrage and disgust that, at length, Trump abandoned the plan. His own personal Independence Day tailored just for him – a sort of Fourth Reich of July – is just the thing to make up for it.
The good news is since this is not going to be another tedious installment of a typical Trump Nuremberg-variety rally, where Trump’s stormtroopers usually control the political proclivities of the attendees, but an annual event where anyone can come, Trump is in for a big surprise. Rather than the triumph deluxe he envisions, it may very well be a wall he gets instead. A wall of hate, a wall of shouted condemnations and booing. Donald Trump is about to find out just how hated he is, and what people with 32 teeth, or thereabouts, think of him. Even so, I can’t wait to find out what Trump’s plans are for Christmas.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.