On Tuesday, the Washington Post reported that the National Park Service is siphoning off some $2.5 million in entrance and recreation fees in order to pay for President Donald Trump's Fourth of July blowout.
The fees, which are collected from national park visitors at the gates, are generally used for maintenance and improvement of national parks, including those in D.C. like the National Mall. The transfer represents some 5 percent of all the funds tapped last year — and it is only a tiny fraction of the overall cost of Trump's event.
"This is a breach of trust with the public," said National Parks Conservation Association President Theresa Pierno in a message to the Post. "The public pays parks fees to fix national parks and for educational programs not the president's parade."
The president is calling for a massive ceremony this year, including parades of military bands, tanks in the streets, flyovers from fighter jets from every branch of the military, and a private section at the Lincoln Memorial which will be reserved for Trump's friends, family, and "VIP" guests who receive tickets distributed by the Republican National Committee.
Sources also told the Post that the president has asked for Apollo 11 mission footage to be projected onto the Washington Monument, a strict departure from the Park Service's general policy of displaying monuments in an unaltered form at all times.