Trump's July Fourth celebration cost military at least $1.2 million - Pentagon

WASHINGTON, July 9 (Reuters) - The Pentagon said on Tuesday that President Donald Trump's celebration of U.S. Independence Day, which included bringing tanks and equipment to Washington, cost the military at least $1.2 million.

Two Bradley fighting vehicles flanked Trump during his July Fourth speech last week, in which he praised American military might despite having himself avoided the draft during the Vietnam War with bone spurs in his feet.

Trump told stories about each military branch before separate, dramatic flyovers of their respective military aircraft.

Trump, a Republican who was inspired to stage the flashy affair after seeing a similar display in France, dismissed concerns ahead of the ceremony about the expense and militaristic overtones of the event outside the 97-year-old Lincoln Memorial, a symbol of national unity.

"The total cost of the Department's support to the 'Salute to America' event was $1.2 million," the Pentagon said in a statement.

In addition to the cost to the military, the Washington Post reported last week that the U.S. National Park Service had diverted $2.5 million in park entrance fees to help pay for the event.

The actual cost for the Pentagon is likely higher, since the Pentagon said funding for the aircraft demonstrations came from the military services' training budgets.

It was not immediately clear if all of the $1.2 million was for the cost of transporting equipment like two Abrams tanks and two Bradley fighting vehicles from Fort Stewart in Georgia for the celebration.

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Melania Trump at July 4th event
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Melania Trump at July 4th event
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04: President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump take the stage on July 04, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump is holding a "Salute to America" celebration on the National Mall on Independence Day this year with musical performances, a military flyover, and fireworks. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04: President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump take the stage on July 04, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump is holding a "Salute to America" celebration on the National Mall on Independence Day this year with musical performances, a military flyover, and fireworks. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump gives First Lady Melania Trump a kiss as he arrives to speak at the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by Susan Walsh / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read SUSAN WALSH/AFP/Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump and Vice President Mike Pence applaud during the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04: President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump take the stage on July 04, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump is holding a "Salute to America" celebration on the National Mall on Independence Day this year with musical performances, a military flyover, and fireworks. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
Guest cheer as US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive for the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive for the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04: President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump take the stage on July 04, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump is holding a "Salute to America" celebration on the National Mall on Independence Day this year with musical performances, a military flyover, and fireworks. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
Guest cheer as US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive for the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04: President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump take the stage on July 04, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump is holding a "Salute to America" celebration on the National Mall on Independence Day this year with musical performances, a military flyover, and fireworks. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, US Vice President Mike Pence (L) and acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper (R), among others, watch as the US Navy Blue Angels flyover during the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by Susan Walsh / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read SUSAN WALSH/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, US Vice President Mike Pence (L) and acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper (R), among others, watch as the US Navy Blue Angels flyover during the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by Susan Walsh / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read SUSAN WALSH/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (R) and First Lady Melania Trump walk onstage during the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (C-L) and First Lady Melania Trump stand onstage with others during the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04: First Lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Second Lady Karen Pence and Tiffany Trump watch as military aircraft fly over during the "Salute to America" ceremony in front of the Lincoln Memorial, on July 4, 2019 in Washington, DC. The presentation featured armored vehicles on display, a flyover by Air Force One, and several flyovers by other military aircraft. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04: First Lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Second Lady Karen Pence and Tiffany Trump listen as President Donald Trump delivers remarks at the "Salute to America" ceremony in front of the Lincoln Memorial, on July 4, 2019 in Washington, DC. The presentation featured armored vehicles on display, a flyover by Air Force One, and several flyovers by other military aircraft. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04: President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump exit after the "Salute to America" ceremony in front of the Lincoln Memorial, on July 4, 2019 in Washington, DC. The presentation features armored vehicles on display, a flyover by Air Force One, and several flyovers by other military aircraft. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04: President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence stand on stage after President Donald Trump spoke at the "Salute to America" ceremony in front of the Lincoln Memorial, on July 4, 2019 in Washington, DC. The presentation featured armored vehicles on display, a flyover by Air Force One, and several flyovers by other military aircraft. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump (C) is escorted to the stage during the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (L) and First Lady Melania Trump leave after attending the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (L) and First Lady Melania Trump leave after attending the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (L) and US First Lady Melania Trump arrive for the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive to the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive at the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive to "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive to "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive to "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
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The military did not immediately provide a breakdown of the cost. Simply flying the B-2 bomber for an hour costs about $122,000, according to the Air Force.

On Monday, Trump said such an event would take place in the future.

"Based on its tremendous success, we're just making the decision - and I can think we can say we've made the decision - to do it again next year, and, maybe we can say, for the foreseeable future," Trump told reporters.

The July Fourth holiday celebrates the U.S. founders’ declaring independence from Britain in 1776. (Reporting by Idrees Ali. Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu. Editing by Bill Berkrot)

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