White House announces plans for Fourth of July celebrations

The White House said in a statement Friday it will be hosting a “2020 Salute to America” on the South Lawn for the Fourth of July.

The announcement signals another big celebration in honor of Independence Day, set with “music, military demonstrations, and flyovers to honor our Nation’s service members and veterans.”

President Trump will also give a speech prior to the traditional firework display at the end of the evening.

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Democratic lawmakers from D.C., Maryland and Virginia in the House and Senate, led by Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., sent a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt requesting that the celebrations be put off this year to save taxpayers money in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

The letter also cited concerns over social distancing measures and citywide logistics.

“Given the number of individuals that would try to attend such an event, logistically such an event would be impossible to put on safely,” the letter said.

“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 said in a statement regarding the announcement in May.

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“The American people 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, and both deserve celebration on America’s birthday this year.”

The president is reportedly expected to attend at a July 3 flyover at Mount Rushmore.

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South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said in a press conference Friday that she is not planning on enforcing social distancing measures.

“We haven’t even come close to reaching the capacity of the amount of people that we can take care of,” Noem said. “So it’s been encouraging to see infection rates decline.”

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