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Who's coming to Trump's Fourth of July speech? What we know so far

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President Donald Trump is marshalling tanks, bombers and other machinery of war for a Fourth of July celebration that traditionally is light on military might, while critics accused him of using America’s military as a political prop. (July 3)
AP, AP

President Donald Trump, in a departure from previous Washington, D.C. Fourth of July celebrations, is planning on holding a speech at the Lincoln Memorial complete with tanks on display, airplane flyovers, and fireworks. 

According to the Pentagon, 5,000 tickets have been provided to the Department of Defense for service members to attend Trump’s speech. 

Here’s what we know so far about who plans to attend the speech, which Trump says will be part of “the show of a lifetime”

More: ‘Show of a lifetime’: Donald Trump defends 4th of July extravaganza amid questions about cost, politicization

Top Pentagon officials 

According to a Pentagon statement released on Wednesday, many top Pentagon officials are planning on attending the speech. 

  • Mark T. Esper, Acting Secretary of Defense
  • General Joseph Dunford, Jr., Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • James McPherson, Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary of the Army
  • LTG(P) Joseph M. Martin, Incoming Vice Chief of the Staff of the Army
  • Richard V. Spencer, Secretary of the Navy
  • Admiral Bob Burke, Vice Chief of Naval Operations
  • Lieutenant General Eric Smith, Deputy Commandant, Marine Corps Development Command
  • Matthew Donovan, Acting Secretary of the Air Force
  • General Stephen Wilson, Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force
  • LTG Daniel Hokanson, Director, Army National Guard
  • Admiral Karl Schultz, USCG Commandant

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  • A city workers hangs flags along Constitution Avenue in Washington, DC, July 2, 2019 as the National Mall is being prepared for the traditional Independence Day celebration as well as President Trump's Salute to America that will include tanks, armored vehicles, military flyovers and a nationally televised addressed from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. 1 of 15
  • Preparations are underway for Independence Day celebrations in Washington, DC as they set up for President Donald Trump's 'Salute to America' event honoring service branches on Independence Day at the Lincoln Memorial, July 2, 2019, in Washington. 2 of 15
  • A worker washes one of two M1A1 Abrams tanks that are loaded on rail cars at a rail yard on July 2, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump asked the Pentagon for military hardware, including tanks, to be displayed during Thursdays July 4th Salute to America celebration at the Lincoln Memorial.3 of 15
  • Workers build a stage and bleachers for the Salute to America Fourth of July event on the National Mall in Washington, DC, July 1, 2019. 4 of 15
  • Workers set up for President Donald Trump's 'Salute to America' event honoring service branches on Independence Day at the Lincoln Memorial, July 2, 2019, in Washington. 5 of 15
  • Visitors navigate temporary fencing installed along the National Mall as workers set up for President Donald Trump's 'Salute to America' event honoring service branches on Independence Day at the Lincoln Memorial, July 2, 2019, in Washington. 6 of 15
  • Preparations are underway for Independence Day celebrations in Washington, DC. 7 of 15
  • Visitors are limited to a single walkway along the Reflecting Pool as workers set up for President Donald Trump's 'Salute to America' event honoring service branches at the Lincoln Memorial on Independence Day, July 2, 2019, in Washington.8 of 15
  • Preparations for President Donald J. Trump's Salute to America continue as tourists visit the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 2, 2019. 9 of 15
  • Two M1A1 Abrams tanks and other military vehicles sit on guarded rail cars at a rail yard on July 2, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump asked the Pentagon for military hardware, including tanks, to be displayed during the 4th of July Salute To America on the National Mall. 10 of 15
  • A worker carries a security camera to be installed at the Lincoln Memorial ahead of Thursdays July 4th Salute to America celebration, on July 2, 2019 in Washington, DC.11 of 15
  • Workers install fencing at the Lincoln Memorial ahead of Thursdays July 4th Salute to America celebration, on July 2, 2019 in Washington, DC. 12 of 15
  • Jogger Janice Wright yells photobomb as she runs past the Lincoln Memorial ahead of Thursdays July 4th Salute to America celebration, on July 2, 2019 in Washington, DC. 13 of 15
  • A fire extinguisher sits near a row of loaded firework launchers at West Potomac Park ahead of Thursdays July 4th Salute to America celebration, on July 2, 2019 in Washington, DC. 14 of 15
  • Preparations are underway for Independence Day celebrations in Washington, DC as they set up for President Donald Trump's 'Salute to America' event honoring service branches on Independence Day at the Lincoln Memorial, July 2, 2019, in Washington. 15 of 15

Republican Party donors 

The Huffington Post first reported on Monday that the White House had distributed tickets to the event to Republican Party donors and political appointees. Trump’s re-election committee also plans to distribute tickets to supporters. Congressional Democrats argued that this distribution of tickets threatened to politicize a nonpartisan patriotic celebration. 

Protesters  

It is unclear how close they’ll be able to get, but several groups plan to protest Trump’s speech. The activist group CODEPINK plans to bring an inflatable “Baby Trump” balloon, though the National Park Service is not allowing the group to fill it with helium.

One other protester plans to burn an American flag on the Mall. Other protesters plan to hand out T-shirts honoring the late Sen. John McCain, who frequently sparred with Trump and whom Trump has criticized even after McCain’s death last year. 

Who’s not coming? 

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is not planning on attending, Press Secretary Susana Castillo confirmed to USA TODAY on Wednesday. 

Bowser criticized the celebrations in an interview with National Public Radio on Tuesday. 

“I don’t think we get anything out of it. We always are happy to welcome visitors to go to our restaurants and our hotels,” said Bowser.

She added, though, in her personal capacity, that she had “concerns.”

“I have some concerns. And I also have some concerns about a president not celebrating the military but glorifying military might. That scares me the most.”

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