Salute to America: White House Scrambling to Give Away Tickets to Donald Trump's Fourth of July Event—Report

The White House is fretting there may be a repeat of Donald Trump's 2017 inauguration as his much hyped "Salute to America" celebration may not draw a large enough crowd, according to reports.

The Washington Post reported the administration has been desperately attempting to confirm more attendees for the president's 6:30 p.m. speech during the Fourth of July event at Washington's Lincoln Memorial as they struggle to allocate tickets for the VIP sections.

There are also fears the public may choose to stay away from the free event, which does not require a ticket, as the predicted bad weather and traditional free concert on the other end of the Mall could also impact the audience size.

The Trump administration will be desperate not to have a recurrence of Trump's 2017 inauguration ceremony which, despite White House claims, was attended by far fewer people than Barack Obama's 2009 inauguration.

The Pentagon previously announced that it had given 5,000 tickets for the event to military personnel and their families, with other groups and donors also receiving tickets to attend the VIP sections of the event. As reported by CBS, leaders who will be attending include Acting Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer, and General Joseph Dunford, Jr., Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, among others.

The Republican National Committee (RNC) also confirmed that they had received tickets to hand out for the event. However, The Post reported the White House has "been a bit clumsy" in their attempts to give away other passes for the VIP areas, according to officials, meaning large swathes of tickets are still available.

According to Politico, several of Trump's high-end donors and other allies will not be attending the event despite being offered tickets by the RNC. "They started this too late and everyone has plans already," said Dan Eberhart, a Republican donor and CEO of the drilling services company Canary, LLC. "Everyone will be there in spirit, but in reality, people planned their July 4th activities weeks ago."

The weather may also prove to be an important factor in the crowd size. According to a National Weather Service forecast, showers and thunderstorms are likely in Washington after 3 p.m. on July 4. "New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, expect higher amounts possible in thunderstorms," the forecast adds.

The graphic below, provided by Statista, highlights that in a recent poll by Monmouth University, 80 percent of Americans have likely not heard about Donald Trump's plan to give a speech from the Lincoln Memorial on the 4th of July.

Donald Trump salute to america speech statista
Highlights from a recent poll by Monmouth University. Statista

The Salute to America has already come under scrutiny as critics argue Trump is turning annual non-partisan Fourth of July celebrations into a political rally, putting him at the center of the occasion, as well as the use of tanks and military jets.

In the run-up to the event, Trump has been defending several aspects, including the estimated $2.5 million cost and the use of military vehicles, in a series of tweets.

"The Pentagon & our great Military Leaders are thrilled to be doing this & showing to the American people, among other things, the strongest and most advanced Military anywhere in the World. Incredible Flyovers & biggest ever Fireworks," he wrote.

In a separate tweet on July 3, Trump added: "The cost of our great Salute to America tomorrow will be very little compared to what it is worth. We own the planes, we have the pilots, the airport is right next door (Andrews), all we need is the fuel. We own the tanks and all. Fireworks are donated by two of the greats. Nice!"

Salute to America
Workers install a security fence in the Reflecting Pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial ahead of the Fourth of July "Salute to America" celebration, on July 3, 2019 in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson/Getty

This article was updated to include an infographic.