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Trump touts his military-style July 4th event: 'Be there early'

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Image: Trump Fourth of July
An Army driver with the 3rd Infantry Division, 1st Battalion, 64th Armored Regiment, drives a Bradley Fighting Vehicle into place by the Lincoln Memorial, on July 3, 2019, in Washington, ahead of planned Fourth of July festivities with President Donald Tr   -   Copyright  Jacquelyn Martin AP
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President Donald Trump took to Twitter to tout his military-style July 4th event, which he said will be "one of the biggest celebrations" in U.S. history.

"Be there early," the president said in a tweet Thursday morning.

His "Salute to America" event is set for Thursday evening, with Trump scheduled to speak at 6:30 p.m.

He tweeted that the event at the Lincoln Memorial will include "large scale flyovers of the most modern and advanced aircraft anywhere in the World."

Trump also teased that attendees may get a glimpse of Air Force One doing a "low & loud sprint over the crowd."

"People are coming from far and wide to join us today and tonight for what is turning out to be one of the biggest celebrations in the history of our Country, SALUTE TO AMERICA," he said.

The president's military display will also include performances by The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, the U.S. Army Band, the Armed Forces Chorus, the U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon and the U.S. Navy Blue Angels. Tanks will be on display.

The event has drawn concerns from Democrats and critics who say the president is inserting himself into a national holiday and could make the celebration a political event.

But the communications director for Trump's re-election campaign, Tim Murtaugh, dismissed complaints that the president is using the Independence Day event for political purposes.

"President Trump loves this country. He's not going to apologize for that," he said. Officials also stressed the event is open to the general public and tickets are not required to attend/

Washington, D.C.'s delegate to Congress, Eleanor Holmes Norton, told NBC News this week, "The people should resent having any politician co-opt the nation's birthday. That's for them — the American people — and them alone."

She added: "Mr. President, how about a hot dog and a hamburger rather than an extravaganza that divides the country?"

The Washington, D.C., City Council tweeted, "tanks, but no tanks."

There have also been concerns about the cost. According to The Washington Post, the National Park Service is diverting roughly $2.5 million in entrance and recreation fees from parks around the county to cover the tab for Trump's event.

The diverted fees, however, represent just a fraction of the total cost, which remains unclear. In a tweet on Wednesday, Trump downplayed the cost, writing: "The cost of our great Salute to America tomorrow will be very little compared to what it is worth.

"We own the planes, we have the pilots, the airport is right next door (Andrews), all we need is the fuel. We own the tanks and all. Fireworks are donated by two of the greats. Nice!"