The White House press office has just released the list of those “expected to attend” today’s event. (White House pool reports are always a little bit behind events).
The following individuals are expected to attend:
The White House
President Donald J. Trump
First Lady Melania Trump
Vice President Mike Pence
Second Lady Karen Pence
Acting Secretary Mark T. Esper, Department of Defense
Secretary David Bernhardt, Department of the Interior
Secretary Alex Acosta, Department of Labor
Secretary Alex Azar, Department of Health and Human Services
Secretary Elaine Chao, Department of Transportation
Administrator Andrew Wheeler, Environmental Protection Agency
Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, United States Trade Representative
United States Military Leaders
Gen Joseph F. 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
Secretary Richard Spencer, Secretary of the Navy
ADM Bob Burke, Vice Chief of Naval Operations
LtGen Eric Smith, Deputy Commandant, Marine Corps Development Command
Acting Secretary Matthew Donovan, Acting Secretary of the Air Force
Gen Stephen Wilson, Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force
LTG Daniel Hokanson, Director of the Army National Guard
ADM Karl Schultz, Commandant of the Coast Guard
The Associated Press has noted how on-script Trump remained today.
“He largely adhered to his script, avoiding diversions into his agenda or re-election campaign,” says AP.
This is certainly how the speech felt listening to it. There were long sections where Trump seemed to be reading, listing dates and facts as he gave historical accounts of many of the armed forces. Indeed, there were some points when the crowd – dare I say it – even seemed a little bored. Certainly, at some moments during these scripted historical sections when Trump stopped for applause, it took a long while for a very muted cheer to struggle free from the crowd.
Mollie Hemingway on Fox News says that those who were critical of Trump’s idea of holding the event and delivering a speech today, will “feel foolish” after hearing Trump’s speech, which she says was unifying. Another Fox commentator says that the speech was “an ode to American exceptionalism”.
We’ll bring you verdicts of Trump’s speech and the entire event as it rolls in. Starting with Fox News , which says Trump’s speech had “quite a State of the Union feel” about it, running through the US’s achievements and 243 history in a one hour speech.
We’ve now got Lee Greenwood’s “I’m proud to be an American/God bless the USA” playing as the Blue Angels fly over.
The lyrics of the chorus of that song go:
And I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.
And I’d gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land God bless the USA.
“Glory, glory, hallelujah, his truth is marching on!”
No complaints about the music, which has all been performed with great aplomb today. Trump will be loving the degree of pomp and ceremony.
He is inviting Melania Trump, Mike Pence and others up onto the stage as the Battle Hymn of the Republic is performed by the military band.
“The spirit of America will never fade, never fail, but will reign forever and ever and ever!”
Trump is signing off now, wishing everyone a happy Independence Day.
We have celebrated the armed forces, says Trump, “now we must go forward with the same purpose.”
“As long as we stay true to our purpose… as long as we never ever stop fighting for a better future, there will be nothing that America can not do.”
“The future belongs to the brave, the strong, the proud and the free,” says Trump. “We all share the same heroes, the same home, the same heart, and we are all made by the same Almighty God.”
Trump is celebrating the Army’s involvement in the second world war, praising them for their work as “they held the line of civilisation in Korea”, he mentions the Vietnam War, “raining fire” down on Al-qaeda, the liberation of Fallujah and the “obliteration” of the Isis caliphate in Syria, “just recently – 100% gone”, says Trump.
A fly-over for the army.
More Latin from Trump at the end of a story about a Marine who was gravely injured in battle and when visited by his general wrote two words on a piece of paper: “Semper fi” (short for semper fidelis: always faithful, the mott of the Marines).
And we have another fly-by.