Senate Democrat: Interior secretary ignored questions about funding for Trump's July 4 celebration

Sen. Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallHispanic caucus unhappy with transition team treatment of Lujan Grisham Progressives urge Haaland for Interior as short list grows Senate committee approves nominations of three FEC commissioners MORE (D-N.M.) on Tuesday accused the Interior Department of refusing to answer an inquiry about President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts MORE's Independence Day plans, including how the additional cost of the plans will be covered. 

“It is unacceptable that the Interior Department is failing to inform Congress about how it plans to spend taxpayer money to fund the president’s lavish July 4th plans, which reportedly include special access to the National Mall for the politically connected," Udall, the ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, said in a statement. 


Udall also accused Trump of using taxpayer money on "a de facto campaign rally."

"The American people deserve to know how much of their money the president is spending to turn their July 4th celebration into a de facto campaign rally," he added. "All reports indicate that the president is planning to turn a national day of unity into a day of vanity – trying to use the military for political purposes and doling out perks to his political backers – at the taxpayers’ expense. We need answers."

"We will respond as appropriate," Interior Department spokeswoman Molly Block told The Hill in a statement on Tuesday. She did not elaborate. 

Udall, along with Sens. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyGovernment used Patriot Act to gather website visitor logs in 2019 Top GOP senator warns government funding deal unlikely this week Incoming Congress looks more like America MORE (D-Vt.) and Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenOn The Money: COVID-19 relief picks up steam as McConnell, Pelosi hold talks | Slowing job growth raises fears of double-dip recession | Biden officially announces Brian Deese as top economic adviser GOP blocks effort to make payroll tax deferral optional for federal workers Democratic senators unveil bill to ban discrimination in financial services industry MORE (D-Md.), wrote a letter last month to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt asking for details on the Independence Day plan and how the costs will be funded. 

Trump has said he plans to speak at the Lincoln Memorial and said Monday that there will be military tanks at the event.