Trump's 'Salute to America' cost more than $5M

Trump's 'Salute to America' cost more than $5M
© Aaron Schwartz

The Fourth of July “Salute to America” event cost Washington, D.C., and the federal government more than $5 million.

That figure included $2.45 million the Interior Department and National Park Service spent on expenses such as barricades, medical services, staffing and other logistics, according to a letter from Interior.

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The District of Columbia and Defense Department, meanwhile, reported event and security costs of $1.7 million and $1.2 million, respectively, for a total cost of $5.35 million.

National Park Service Deputy Director Dan Smith told ABC News the publicity the event generated for the National Park Service made the cost worth it.

“If you could tell me that for $2.5 million additional dollars the exposure we got from this televised event, it’s a great bang for the buck,” he said.

Smith denied the money for the event was diverted from any planned or deferred maintenance initiatives.

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, has called the spending “especially wrong,” saying that despite a letter from Interior Secretary David Bernhardt citing similar figures for events such as the anniversary of the March on Washington in 2013, the 2019 event did not have comparable historical value.

"Mayor [Muriel] Bowser has said the president’s event bankrupted a fund meant to protect the nation’s capital from terrorist attacks, not to mention that he still hasn’t paid off the bills from his inauguration festivities," Grijalva said in a statement.

"In that context, the diversion of fee revenue from visitors to our national parks to pay for the president’s new extra event on the 4th was especially wrong," he added, according to ABC News.