Company that donated fireworks to Trump's event also successfully lobbied against tariffs: reports

The CEO of a fireworks retailer donating $750,000 of products to President Trump's Fourth of July celebration reportedly lobbied against expanding Chinese import tariffs in a private White House meeting. 

The same day the Phantom Fireworks donation was announced, Trump decided to postpone his threatened $300 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods, ABC News reports

Phantom Fireworks CEO Bruce Zoldan told WTOP he met with Trump on the matter in a private May 22 meeting and "tariffs were discussed in general." 

However, Zoldan denied that the donation was politically motivated. 

ADVERTISEMENT

"We did not equate the conversation to a specific industry. Discussions about Phantom and Grucci’s donation to this year’s Fourth of July performance commenced two months in advance of anything relating to tariffs," he said in his statement to WTOP. 

The Interior Department, overseeing the July 4 celebration, declined to comment on its policy for vetting or accepting donations in ABC's report. 

The threatened tariffs could have greatly impacted the fireworks industry, as China leads as the largest producer of consumer and commercial pyrotechnics. 

Almost all fireworks sold in the U.S. are imported from China, ABC News reports. 

"It would be pretty devastating," Bill Weimer, vice president of Phantom Fireworks, told ABC News of the threatened tariff. "The problem is there's no alternative source for us to get the fireworks. We have to stay with China."

Trump tweeted Tuesday thanking Phantom Fireworks and Fireworks by Grucci for the donation. 

"Thanks to 'Phantom Fireworks' and 'Fireworks by Grucci; for their generosity in donating the biggest fireworks show Washington D.C. has ever seen. CEO's Bruce Zoldan and Phil Grucci are helping to make this the greatest 4th of July celebration in our Nations history!," Trump tweeted. 

Trump's "Salute to America" will conclude with a 35-minute fireworks display, one of the longest fireworks shows D.C. has hosted. It is estimated to cost more than $1 million, offset by the $750,000 donation.