Pentagon estimates military preparation for Trump's event cost $1.2 million

Pentagon estimates military preparation for Trump's event cost $1.2 million
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The Pentagon estimates that it cost the military $1.2 million to participate in President TrumpDonald John TrumpChelsea Clinton announces birth of third child Ukrainian officials and Giuliani are sharing back-channel campaign information: report Trump attacks 'the Squad' as 'racist group of troublemakers' MORE’s Fourth of July “Salute to America” event, which featured a flyover by fighter jets as well as multiple tanks and fighting vehicles.

Trump touted military accomplishments in his speech on the National Mall that was accompanied by flyovers from Air Force F-22 Raptor fighters and a B-2 Spirit bomber, Army Apache helicopters, Marine MV-22 Ospreys, Navy F-35C Lightning II fighters and F/A-18 Hornets, and Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk and MH-65 Dolphin helicopters.

Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles were also stationed by the Lincoln Memorial as the president addressed attendees on the Mall, the site of an annual fireworks show that attracts hundreds of thousands of people to the nation's capital.

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"The Department of Defense supported the 'Salute to America' with demonstrations by aircraft, static displays of equipment and ceremonial unit participation," the Pentagon said in a statement. "Additional funding was used for the transportation of static displays and equipment. The total cost of the Department's support to the 'Salute to America' event was $1.2 million." 

The figure cited by the Pentagon does not equal the total cost to taxpayers and covers only those expenses that were paid by the military’s budget specifically.

Democrats came out in force against the event's cost this year, with three senators writing a letter to the Government Accountability Office on Monday calling for the federal watchdog to investigate the event’s price tag.

To rebut such criticism, the Pentagon also provided cost estimates for other nationwide events, including $1.8 million for the Navy to hold Fleet Week in San Francisco and $2.5 million associated with Fleet Week in New York.

“The Department of Defense has a long history of showcasing military assets to the country in order to recognize our military's contributions to the safety and security of the nation, and to assist in recruiting future generations of Service members,” the Pentagon said. 

Trump repeatedly defended the celebration’s cost before July Fourth and told reporters after the event that he thought it would lead to a bump in military recruiting.

“You’re going to have a lot of people being recruited, I think, based on that,” he said. “And I think, really, that you’re going to see a big spike. I've already heard it — a lot of people calling in. No place like our military. I think we showed that last night.”