Why Trump militarised the 4th of July

US President Donald Trump has used the 4th of July celebrations to display the US's military might, putting on a huge parade of tanks, helicopters and fighter jets. With the big show he has deepened the divide in US society, diverted attention from the real problems and politicised the celebrations in Washington, commentators criticise.

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taz, die tageszeitung (DE) /

Gearing up for the election campaign

Trump's ceremony has deepened the rifts in the country, taz criticises:

“Once again Trump has put himself centre stage. At this symbolic location he wants to give the impression that he has the people behind him. But the residents of the US capital despise Trump. Almost half of them are Afro-Americans, and have no expectations from a president who looks back on the halcyon days of white supremacy. And almost all Washingtonians vote for the Democrats. In November 2016 Trump secured only four percent of the vote there. Since then he has locked himself up in the White House. Because the Washingtonians have let him know how unwelcome he is in their city. Trump has now reacted in kind and turned the Lincoln Memorial into the stage for his next election campaign.”

The Irish Times (IE) /

Distracting from a stain on a great country

Instead of focusing on the US military parade the world should turn its attention to a different problem, warns the Irish Times:

“As Donald Trump was presiding over a brash, bombastic military parade to celebrate Independence Day - or, more accurately, to indulge his own vanity - in Washington yesterday, a humanitarian and moral crisis caused by his own policies was playing out on the southern US border. ... This is not what America stands for. For every American who responds callously to these atrocious scenes, there are many others who show solidarity with migrants by delivering supplies to detention centres or campaign for a change in policy. But this institutional cruelty is what the Trump administration stands for - and its words and actions are a stain on a great country.”

Novoye Vremya (UA) /

In best authoritarian style

The military parade symbolises the growing authoritarian tendencies in the US under Trump, comments journalist Ivan Jakovyna in Novoye Vremya:

“The military parade, the presentation of tanks and the aerobatic squadrons look pretty crazy for US standards. I don't like the increasingly obvious trend that such a spectacle indicates: in recent years it is not the authoritarian countries that have moved closer to democracy and freedom but the opposite: democracies are moving towards authoritarianism. In the US it's still just a matter of style for now, but it still isn't pleasant to see.”

Vedomosti (RU) /

Showing who's the boss

Ever since Trump was guest of honour at a military parade marking French National Day he has wanted a similar parade for the Fourth of July celebratios. But Trump is orienting himself less on France than or Putin's Russia, Vedomosti writes:

“Putin made no bones about displaying his military might on May 9, and the whole world understands who'll win if push comes to shove. US President Trump is an ambitious man. As it's no secret that for him America comes first: how can he just stand by and watch his counterpart Putin's annual triumphal parade on the Red Square? He had to react! ... And he had to thrill Americans with the threatening sight of modern weapons. ... And at the same time give his friend and rival across the ocean a worthy response. And Trump has also copied something else from Putin: the privatisation of the most important national holiday.”