Trump's Fourth of July celebration

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1:01 p.m. ET, July 4, 2019

There's a Baby Trump balloon in Washington today

A "Trump Baby" balloon, set up by members of the CodePink group, is seen ahead of the "Salute to America" event at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC, on July 4, 2019.
A "Trump Baby" balloon, set up by members of the CodePink group, is seen ahead of the "Salute to America" event at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC, on July 4, 2019. ALASTAIR PIKE/AFP/Getty Images

The infamous Baby Trump balloon made an appearance today near where President Trump’s celebration will take place tonight.

A permit for a First Amendment demonstration was issued earlier this week, allowing the balloon on the National Mall from noon to 7:30 p.m. ET.

According to the permit, the purpose of the demonstration is “to show opposition of politicization of July 4th (Independence Day) by President.”

In a statement released on Tuesday, the group expressed frustration with the permit, saying that it "is not in the location we requested — within line of sight of the Lincoln Memorial where President Trump will be speaking."

According to the statement, the group had requested to fly the balloon "on the large, empty expanse at the base of the Washington Monument that would not have obstructed anyone's view but would have allowed the president to see the baby."

"It is ironic that it is right here, in the 'land of the free,' the balloon is being grounded," Code Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin said in the statement.

ALASTAIR PIKE/AFP/Getty Images
ALASTAIR PIKE/AFP/Getty Images

12:34 p.m. ET, July 4, 2019

The National Independence Day Parade is happening now. Here's what you need to know.

The National Independence Day Parade is happening right now in Washington, DC.

Here are some interesting things about this historic parade, according to the parade's website:

  • It is co-hosted by the National Park Service.
  • The route is about a mile long and runs down Constitution Avenue.
  • The bands that participate are invited based on recommendations from each state's governor's office.
  • For bands and other groups to be considered to march in the parade, they have to fill out a full application complete with video recordings, biographical information and awards.
  • The goal is to have at least one band from each of the 50 states in the parade.

You can watch the parade live in the video player above.

12:22 p.m. ET, July 4, 2019

DC airport will halt flights during Trump's Fourth of July event

Runways at the busy airport serving the nation's capital will be closed today during President Trump's Independence Day event, federal authorities said.  

The Federal Aviation Administration announced Tuesday that operations at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport would be suspended between 6:15 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. ET to allow a ceremonial flyover of military aircraft.

The runways will also be closed from 9 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. ET for the annual fireworks display, which is not connected to Trump's "Salute to America."  

Such a closure is unprecedented for Fourth of July events, an official said. The launch point for the fireworks has been moved from the National Mall to a nearby park to accommodate Trump's Lincoln Memorial display.

The last such runway closure was in 2015 for a commemorative flight of World War II-era planes.   

11:46 a.m. ET, July 4, 2019

President Trump's Fourth of July event will feature tanks

Members of the US military guide a Bradley Fighting Vehicle on July 3, 2019 as preparations are made for the "Salute to America" event at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC.
Members of the US military guide a Bradley Fighting Vehicle on July 3, 2019 as preparations are made for the "Salute to America" event at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC. ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images

A small number of M1 Abrams tanks and other armored vehicles will participate in President Trump's Fourth of July celebration in Washington, US defense officials have confirmed to CNN.

However, they will not parade down Pennsylvania Avenue due to the need to protect roads and bridges. Trump later confirmed tanks would be present during remarks in the Oval Office.

While the US continues to operate the M1 Abrams tank, the US military has not used World War II-era M4 Sherman tanks since the 1950s.

About the military display: A US defense official said that the current plan is to have a very small number of armored vehicles participate as part of a "static display" at the event on the National Mall. The vehicles will not be moving thereby reducing the chance of damaging local infrastructure. The number of vehicles will be very small with the current plan to have two M1 Abrams tanks, two Bradley fighting vehicles and an armored M88 Recovery Vehicle, along with an "appropriate" number of accompanying personnel.

Multiple US military aircraft will participate in the celebrations as well, according to two defense officials, including the B-2 stealth bomber and F-22 fighter jets.

CNN had also previously reported that the Blue Angels demonstration team, which typically flies F/A-18s, would be present along with F-35 stealth jets and that the VC-25, the aircraft that serves as Air Force One when the President is on board, also will participate.

11:23 a.m. ET, July 4, 2019

Here's how Trump's celebration today will play out

Today's "Salute to America" ceremony, held at the Lincoln Memorial, will feature military flyovers, music and a speech from President Trump.

Here's a look at today's events:

11:27 a.m. ET, July 4, 2019

What you need to know about Trump's Fourth of July celebration

A Bradley Fighting Vehicle arrives July 3, 2019 as preparations are made for the "Salute to America" at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC.
A Bradley Fighting Vehicle arrives July 3, 2019 as preparations are made for the "Salute to America" at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Washington, DC, always puts on a show for the Fourth of July, but for the first time this year, President Trump is personally planning and throwing together his own Independence Day event at the Lincoln Memorial.

Here's what we know about what's changing in DC for the Fourth of July this year:

  • Trump adds Lincoln Memorial event: Although the Lincoln Memorial is usually utilized for fireworks watching, this year it will feature a speech by Trump. The area in front of the memorial has been cordoned off for a VIP area and tickets have been distributed to the RNC and political donors, among others.
  • About the fireworks: Due to Trump's event, the launch site for the DC fireworks show was moved from the reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial to West Potomac park, along the Potomac river. The DC fireworks show, televised on PBS, will run a full 35 minutes and wrap at 9:42 p.m. ET.
  • The DC airspace will be closed: Airspace around Washington, DC, will close twice on the Fourth of July. In normal years it does not close at all.
  • Tanks will be on display: Trump confirmed to reporters that there will be tanks and other armored vehicles on display for his event. Military officials told CNN the tanks will not parade along Pennsylvania Avenue.
  • Blue Angels and Air Force One will do flyover: The Navy's elite airshow squadron the Blue Angels will do a flyover during the "Salute to America." They'll be joined by other aircraft, including the helicopter and 737 that transport the President and are known as Marine One and Air Force One when he is aboard.
  • Protests are planned: The National Park Service granted a permit for a protest less than a mile down the Mall from the Lincoln Memorial that will include a large inflatable balloon in the likeness of Trump as a baby. Anti-Trump veterans will hand out T-shirts for the USS John McCain in order to troll Trump, who has belittled the dead senator and former prisoner of war.
  • Political allies are getting VIP tickets: Compounding concerns that Trump's event will seem more like a political rally, Republican donors and VIPs will get special access to the event. 
  • Thunderstorms are a real possibility: Everyone should be on the lookout for thunder, lightning, and a possible fireworks redo.