This year there won’t be a speech at the Lincoln Memorial, which overlooks a vast plaza around the Reflecting Pool.
Instead, the White House said in a statement that and first lady Melania “will host the 2020 Salute to America on the South Lawn of the White House and Ellipse,” an area located between the White House and the Washington Monument.
“In addition to music, military demonstrations, and flyovers to honor our Nation’s service members and veterans, the President will deliver remarks that celebrate our independence and salute our amazing heritage. The evening will culminate with a spectacular fireworks display over the National Mall,” the statement said.
The White House did not directly address the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced the scaling back or cancelation of many large events.
It’s not immediately clear how large of an audience intends to address. Last year, ’s speech at the Lincoln Memorial created a logistical nightmare for the Secret Service, which installed bulletproof glass in front of . The glass became streaked with rain as spoke, partially obscuring TV shots.
’s decision to host another celebration comes amid tension with DC officials after he ordered federal officers and National Guard members from other states to quell widespread looting and property damage during protests over the killing of George Floyd by Minnesota police.
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser ordered the painting of “Black Lives Matter” on a street immediately north of the White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) scheduled a vote next week on DC statehood — in what likely will be the first time either chamber of Congress approves the possibility.
Under Bowser’s directive, the capital city will allow the limited reopening of retail businesses on Monday under the local “Phase Two” of reopening from the pandemic. Restaurants were allowed to begin serving guests outdoors this month.