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Entertainment & Arts

Trump’s ‘Salute to America’ parade sets off celebrity Twitter fireworks

President Donald Trump speaks during an Independence Day celebration in front of the Lincoln Memoria
President Donald Trump speaks during an Independence Day celebration in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.
(Susan Walsh / Associated Press)

It turns out not everyone loves a parade.

Before the first fireworks could be set off at President Trump’s “Salute to America” parade, plenty of celebs were causing sparks in reaction to the event, which got underway on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Thursday evening.

A sampling of celebrity reactions on Twitter leaned more negative than positive. Author Stephen King tweeted, “Trump’s big military parade? This is what dictators do.”

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Singer and actress Bette Midler, whom Trump had previously called a “washed-up psycho” after she criticized him, needled the president for five draft deferments for bone spurs during the Vietnam War: “Let’s call his Independence Day celebration what it really is: ‘The 4th of You Lie!’ ” (Of Midler’s many responses to the event, this was one that could be published in a family newspaper.)

When Midler tweeted a limerick criticizing the fact that taxes would be funding the event, actress Kristy Swanson, who had shared a number of announcements about the event from President Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, and Vice President Mike Pence, responded: “You don’t love America (sad)”

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Actress and activist Alyssa Milano objected to the reported diversion of $2.5 million in funds from the National Parks Service, questioning whether the “Salute to America” was a reelection event, considering the VIP tickets given to donors.

Like Milano, actor Billy Baldwin lamented the funds being used for the parade, rather than for other causes, such as the arts. Although the administration has declined to reveal the cost of the event , the $90-million figure Baldwin cites in his tweet is in line with what defense officials estimated in 2018.

Oscar winner Mira Sorvino questioned why the funds for the event, billed as a celebration of the nation’s military, weren’t being spent directly on veterans.

“Lord of the Rings” actor Sean Astin was thinking of the disruption caused to the families of the service members unable to take the holiday off: “I hope they all remember that they are respected & appreciated by those who oppose the President’s political tactic,” he wrote.

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Actress Morgan Fairchild criticized the seating arrangements for the parade viewing and compared the event to Russian military parades.

Oscar nominee Don Cheadle went further, posting an Esquire article calling the parade “authoritarian performance art.”

Others chose mockery to express their displeasure. “Star Wars” icon Mark Hamill, who has previously released recordings of himself reading Trump’s tweets in the voice of the Joker, tweeted in Trump’s voice: “I told you Kim Jon-un & ME fell in love & if this doesn’t impress him-nothing will!”

Speaking of “Star Wars,” actor Daniel Dae Kim took a swipe from a galaxy far, far away, using a Photoshopped meme to liken the parade to something a Sith Lord might approve.

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Actor Chris Meloni compared the military parade to those of other nations.

But director and actor Rob Reiner didn’t appear to be laughing when he put the event in a larger perspective. Referring to the conditions in which detained children are being kept while in camps at the nation’s border, Reiner called the parade a sign the president is “sociopathic.”

Some, of course, spoke out in support of the event.

”The Goonies” actor Robert Davi tweeted: “THANK YOU @POTUS for wanting to INSPIRE ALL AMERICANS and denounce those tearing us apart from within — HAPPY 4 Th of JULY GOD BLESS AMERICA & EACH OF YOU”

Actor Scott Baio sent his regrets (in Baio’s case, his daughter’s golf tournament prevented his attendance in D.C.), while actress Stacey Dash sent out multiple short missives expressing excitement.

Former “Hercules” actor Kevin Sorbo celebrated the anticipated size of the event’s pyrotechnics, retweeting a Washington Examiner story: “Boom: Donations to Trump’s July Fourth ‘Salute’ to double fireworks display, longest ever”

The reported donation of $750,000 worth of fireworks itself became a cause for controversy: Some came from “an Ohio retailer who has lobbied the White House against expanded tariffs on Chinese imports,” according to an ABC News report. “And last week, the same day the donation was announced, the company — Phantom Fireworks of Youngstown, Ohio — got what it wanted: Trump decided to hold off on his threatened $300 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods, which include fireworks.”

As the “light rain” predicted for the parade gave way to something much heavier at the National Mall — with the National Weather Service warning of storms accompanied by gusty winds and heavy rain — actress Kristen Johnston recalled former Trump campaign chairman Corey Lewandowski’s mocking reaction to the story of a 10-year-old with Down syndrome being separated from her mother at the border: “Womp womp,” she tweeted in response to images of the downpour.

“The Tweet of God,” an anonymous parody account with 6 million followers, had earlier apologized to Californians, saying the 6.4-magnitude earthquake that rattled the southern part of the state earlier Thursday was meant for Washington, D.C.

The account later took the blame (or credit) for raining on Trump’s parade: “Sometimes rain is Me crying because I’m laughing so hard.”

Follow The Times’ live tweeting from the Lincoln Memorial »


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