WASHINGTON — There is a new 4th of July tradition in the District: A celebration feud between the mayor and the president.
Last year, Mayor Muriel Bowser vocally chastised President Donald Trump for his “Salute to America” celebration on the National Mall. The festivities cost the nation around $13 million. The city was forced to pick up a $1.7 million tab.
This year the two are butting heads over out celebrations during the pandemic. Bowser wants D.C. residents to celebrate in small groups at home. Trump has invited Americans to watch fireworks on the National Mall with proper distancing.
It is one city with two messages for the Fourth of July.
Earlier this week, Bowser begged D.C. residents to avoid large gatherings.
"I urge you to stay at home or near your home," Bowser said. "The virus is still in our community and is a threat."
If you haven’t seen fireworks stands across the area it is by design. Part of Bowser’s muted Fourth of July involved not giving out permits to people to sell fireworks. That was the mayor’s vision for the 4th, a quiet, socially distanced celebration.
Trump has different plans.
He has invited Americans to go to the National Mall to see a military flyover in the early evening. Then, at 9 p.m. there's a fireworks display that organizers say could be the biggest in years.
To keep people safe, the Department of the Interior will hand 300,000 masks, advise people to stay distanced, and have handwashing stations on the mall.
Still, Bowser isn't pleased.
"We’ve communicated with them that this is not in keeping with CDC and Department of Health guidance," she said.