Donald Trump originally wanted a military parade, though the idea quickly became a fiasco. As of yesterday, the president has apparently come up with an alternative, which he sketched out at a White House cabinet meeting:
"We're thinking about doing, on the 4th of July or thereabouts, a parade. A 'Salute to America' parade. It will be a -- really, a gathering, as opposed to a parade, I'd guess you'd have to say. Perhaps at the Lincoln Memorial. We're looking at sites. But we're thinking about doing something, which would become, perhaps, a tradition. 'Salute to America' on July 4th or July 4th weekend. Somewhere around that area."And, [acting Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt], you're taking charge of that and you'll see how it works out with schedules and everything else. And I think it could be a very exciting day."
A spokesperson for the Interior Department, perhaps concerned about getting fired, told CNN the president's plan is "a great idea." The White House added in a statement, "President Trump loves America and wants to help all Americans celebrate our nation's independence on July 4."
OK, but does he not realize that Americans already celebrate our nation's independence on July 4?
Pretty much everything Trump proposed yesterday has existed for years. D.C. already has an annual 4th of July parade. D.C. also already hosts an enormous event with people -- many of whom gather around the Lincoln Memorial -- celebrating the national holiday.
This could "become, perhaps, a tradition"? It's already a tradition. Acting Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt is responsible for executing the idea? I have good news for you, Dave, you can already check this off the to-do list.
When I talk about the president being an amateur, I'm not just referring to his incompetence and inexperience. It's also striking to see Trump's unfamiliarity with basic elements of civic life.
At times, it seems the president never took an American Government 101 course. He thought he could direct his attorney general to launch investigations into his enemies. He thought the presidency would be easy. He seems utterly baffled by the most basic elements of separation of powers, diplomacy, and government institutions.
Is it any wonder, then, that Trump thinks he's come up with something new and "exciting" when he pitches a 4th of July celebration in the nation's capital?
Matt Stieb, meanwhile, did a great job summarizing several other instances in which the president proposed things that already exist: "In November 2018, upset by his presentation on CNN, Trump put forward the idea for a 'worldwide network to show the World the way we really are,' apparently unaware of Voice of America, the government-funded media distributor founded during World War II to do just that.... In June 2017, Trump suggested a policy that bars immigrants from receiving welfare for their first five years as citizens -- a law that has existed since 1996.... And there's this classic: In February 2018, during a meeting in which Trump said violent media may be to blame for America's blight of mass shootings, he suggested, 'Maybe they have to put a rating system' in effect for movies and video games."