McCollum among Democrats unhappy with Trump's 'Salute to America'

U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum poses for a portrait
Minnesota 4th District Congresswoman Betty McCollum accuses President Trump of politicizing the nation's July 4th celebration.
Tony Saunders | MPR News

Updated: 3:14 p.m. | Posted: 2 p.m.

Some Democrats say President Trump is politicizing Independence Day with what he's calling "Salute to America." Trump is organizing a display of military might in Washington and plans to give a speech on Thursday, July 4 at the Lincoln Memorial.

4th District DFL Congresswoman Betty McCollum chairs the Appropriations Sub-Committee on the Interior which oversees the National Park Service and Washington's memorials. She says taxpayers shouldn't be on the hook for what President Trump is planning. McCollum also says she will hold a hearing on the decision to use National Park fees to pay for the event.

"I don't think it's appropriate for the president to be turning this, the Lincoln Memorial and the 4th of July into a political rally," McCollum told MPR News. "This is all about Mr. Trump, his family, his personal profit and I hate to say this about the president of the United States, but his ego."

A trip to France and observation of that country's Bastille Day military parade in 2017 inspired what Trump is calling "Salute to America."

McCollum said Trump should have asked Congress for money for his celebration. McCollum commented on the parade costs when asked whether she'll hold hearings on the expenditures.

"I'm certainly going to want to know if money was transferred out of park maintenance, deferred maintenance, for the Park Service, what this meant to overtime," McCollum said.

There are also concerns that moving military equipment to the Capitol mall grounds could damage them.

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