Trump delivers remarks at military-style 'Salute to America' event

Access to the comments Comments
By Allan Smith  with NBC News Politics
Image: US-POLITICS-HOLIDAY-INDEPENDENCE
A marching band performs on the National Mall ahead of the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial on July 4, 2019.   -   Copyright  Brendan Smialowski AFP - Getty Images

President Donald Trump took the stage Thursday for his "Salute to America" Fourth of July celebration in Washington — a military-inspired event that brought a large crowd and tanks to the Lincoln Memorial."Today, we come together as one nation with this very special salute to America," Trump will say, according to prepared remarks released by the White House. "We celebrate our history, our people, and the heroes who proudly defend our flag — the brave men and women of the United States Military!"Later in his speech, Trump will say the "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," he will continue. "It lives on in each and every one of you."Trump's speech comes after a downpour soaked those who took the president's advice and arrived early to the National Mall in Washington. As the speech got underway, it was unclear whether the military aircraft flyovers would still take place as planned.

A marching band performs on the National Mall ahead of the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial on July 4, 2019.
A marching band performs on the National Mall ahead of the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial on July 4, 2019.Brendan Smialowski

More rain and possible thunderstorms are in the forecast for the rest of the evening Thursday, The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch active until 8 p.m. for parts of the nation's capital and the Maryland and Virginia suburbs, The Associated Press reported.Critics of what Trump said would be the "show of a lifetime" have raised concerns about the cost to taxpayers, the appearance of politicizing a traditionally non-partisan celebration and worries that the military is being used as a political prop.Two Trump re-election campaign officials told NBC News Thursday that the "Salute to America" would not be documented for future campaign ads or video, calling it "entirely an official White House event."