Speaking to CNN's Anderson Cooper, New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman said that President Donald Trump's Fourth of July celebration is already on track to be a failure — and White House officials, terrified of the president's pet project ending in a bust, are already trying to assign blame.
"What are you hearing?" asked Cooper. "Is there concern in the White House about this event?"
"The concern in the White House is not so much about the use of military, or about the fact that the president has been focused on this kind of a display, basically since the Bastille Day celebration two years ago in France that he saw," said Haberman. "It's that there won't be crowds. He wants there to be a huge turnout. He wants this to be, you know, a mega event."
"And as of a week ago, week and a half ago, I was hearing from people that the planning was very behind," said Haberman. "There's already a lot of finger-pointing in advance going on in anticipation of problems. So, there might be bad weather. There might not be as many people as might come by otherwise because of the security concerns."
"Traditionally, a lot of people go out to the mall for fourth of July in Washington," added Cooper. "It's legendary."
"It is. It's not traditionally like this," agreed Haberman. "And so, the concern for some within the administration is, or the White House, is, is this going to be the inauguration all over again, where the president wants historic crowds and then is somehow disappointed?"
"And the president, you said, has been focusing on this since he was in France two years ago," said Cooper. "I mean, how much time is he devoting to this?"
"He's devoting a lot," said Haberman. "Look at the proportion of his tweets compared to other topics. He's been incredibly excited about this, talking about it with a lot of people, very involved in the layout and the design. He likes putting on shows. This is what he's doing. Remember, he's wanted, actually, some form of a military display since his inauguration. He looked at the possibility of that being part of the inaugural parade. He was told no, the streets couldn't take it in D.C., the military equipment. This is some compromise version of it. He's very excited about this."