How 'authoritarian nationalist' Trump hijacked the 4th: columnist
US President Donald Trump has hit out at traditional allies one-by-one ahead of the G20 AFP / Brendan Smialowski

This 4th of July, President Donald Trump is celebrating by shipping tanks and other military equipment to D.C.


The President also plans to hold a speech, prompting concerns that he'll politicize what is supposed to be a bipartisan celebration of U.S. independence.

Writing the in Washington Post, columnist Greg Sargent notes that Trump's use of military imagery comports with his authoritarian tendencies.

"The authoritarian nationalist leader typically rewrites the story of the nation in his own image," Sargent writes.

"Our own homegrown authoritarian nationalist has proved particularly devoted to this fusion of national mythmaking and self-hagiography, often delivered in his own unique language of crass, gaudy spectacle."

Sargent puts the president's theatrics in historical context.

"The historians tell us that this is what authoritarian nationalists do," he continues.

"As Harvard’s Jill Lepore puts it, they replace history with tried-and-true fictions — false tales of national decline at the hands of invented threats, melded to fictitious stories of renewed national greatness, engineered by the leader himself, who is both author of the fiction and its mythic hero."

Sargent notes that regardless of what the president says in his speech, the very act of monopolizing the proceedings cements his authoritarianism.

"This is what we will be seeing in one form or another on the Fourth of July, no matter what Trump says in his planned Independence Day speech from the Lincoln Memorial," he writes.

"The very act of taking over the proceedings in the manner he has cooked up itself accomplishes this feat."