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MSNBC Panel Blasts Trump for Politicizing, Militarizing July 4th: ‘Obnoxious,’ ‘Nauseating,’ ‘Fundamentally Un-American’

On MSNBC’s Hardball, host Chris Matthews teed up a segment on the White House’s upcoming plans for the July 4th celebration in Washington, D.C. and his panel of guests proceeded to repeatedly whack President Donald Trump for both politicizing and militarizing what had been a traditional non-partisan and less aggressive event.

“I’m also struck by the tacky narcissism of it and how thoroughly annoying it is that the President of the United States needs to take over what was one of my favorite holidays where we celebrated being American,” said Charlie Sykes. “It was not a partisan event. It was not a political event. It was about us, not about one man. And yet Donald Trump cannot resist making everything about himself. Yes, the symbolism is disturbing, but I think it’s just the obnoxiousness of politicizing and militarizing this really — one of our nicer, more unified national holidays.”

Trump has broke with precedent by taking over the planning of the event himself and for injecting a much more overt and public display of military hardware into the holiday. Per Trump’s orders, a number of 70-ton M1 Abrams tanks will reportedly be parked around The Mall on Independence Day, the first time heavily armored vehicles have been physically present in the capital’s July 4th festivities. And the White House has faced claims of nakedly politicizing the event, after reports surfaced that the Republican National Committee is doling out VIP tickets to the July 4th event to its high-dollar donors.

“Even though the White House says it isn’t a political event, it sounds like he is talking to is his base and the people who he wants to support him again,” noted PBS White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor. “This is of course inherently political. The president constantly is making political conversations, making political statements. He obviously kicked off his campaign during the Inaugural address. So it’s the person really trying to show look at all the mighty things I have.”

Matthews then invoked President Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address, given on July 4, 1863, to point out that the holiday has become a celebration not about militarily defeating our enemies, but of declaring our values. “That’s what we did in Philadelphia [in 1776]. What do tanks have to do with it?”

“Nothing,” answered former Defense Department and CIA chief of staff Jeremy Bash, who was likewise aghast at Trump’s theatrics for the event.

“This is nauseating, Chris. This is not just obnoxious tackiness, this is actually dangerous. It’s fundamentally Unamerican,” Bash said. “It politicizes a nonpartisan celebration of we the people of our Declaration of Independence, and it also misunderstands the fundamental nature of our military might. Our military is not strong because of the weight of our armor or because of the speed of our fighter jets. It’s because of the professionalism and skill of our service members who sacrifice everything for our freedom. That’s what we should be honoring on July 4th. Not displays of military might.”

Watch the video above, via MSNBC.

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