There will be tanks.
US president Donald Trump’s Fourth of July celebration in Washington, DC will feature two different US military tanks, the Pentagon told Quartz today, but it is unclear yet how or where.
The tanks may actually roll through the streets of the city as a new addition to the annual July 4th parade, or they may be parked along the National Mall, where thousands come to view fireworks every year. That’s still being decided, the Pentagon spokesman said.
The White House’s insistence that tanks be part of the celebration, which Trump is calling the “Salute to America,” will likely further impair an already acrimonious relationship between the Trump administration and the city. Trump is intensely unpopular in Washington, DC.
The deeply Democratic city voted more for Hillary Clinton in 2016 than any major city in America. Washington, DC’s over-five-decades-old July 4th celebration has normally been an apolitical affair, featuring fireworks and music, but not political speeches.
“Tanks but no tanks,” the DC City Council tweeted on July 1, citing potential damage to city infrastructure.
The city mayor’s office will be overseeing the celebration, but did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
“The Department of Defense is working with the Department of Transportation on what the appropriate measures are to protect the streets,” the Pentagon spokesman told Quartz. But he was able to confirm which tanks will be featured:
“The Abrams Main Battle Tank closes with and destroys the enemy using mobility, firepower and shock effect,” the Army explains online, and features “shoot-on-the-move lethality and a high degree of maneuverability.” The tank fires rounds from a 120-mm smoothbore gun, capable of destroying other tanks, concrete walls and bunkers.
The tank “sends a message to those who would oppose the United States as to the resolve, capability and might of the U.S. Army.”
The M2 Bradley is not technically a tank. It’s an infantry fighting vehicle that is armed with a 25-mm gun that fires 200 rounds a minute, a machine gun, and an anti-tank missile launcher. The Bradleys were used in the Persian Gulf and Iraq wars, but are expected to be phased out in the coming years.
It is unclear how many of each will be featured in Trump’s July 4th celebration. There are two of each model now in the Washington, DC area. They appear to have been shipped in by rail, and were spotted at a Washington, DC rail yard on July 1.
The Pentagon is keeping track of the additional costs associated with Trump’s celebration, and is expected to release the totals after July 4th.