The U.S. Navy Blue Angels fly over the Lincoln Memorial at President Trump's Fourth of July event in 2019. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images
President Trump's Fourth of July "Salute to America" event last year cost over $13 million, according to an estimate released Thursday by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), an independent agency watchdog.
Why it matters: Estimated costs for Independence Day events on the National Mall in 2016, 2017 and 2018 ranged between $6 million to $7 million, per GAO.
Catch up quick: GAO partially attributes the price tag to the Defense Department transporting battle tanks and fighter jets to the National Mall for the ceremony, as well as extra security made available for the president to attend in-person.
What they're saying: White House spokesperson Judd Deere told AP's Ellen Knickmeyer that the Fourth of July celebration "is not about politics," in response to congressional Democrats' criticisms of how much the holiday cost taxpayers.
- “It’s about all Americans coming together to celebrate Independence Day, our great armed forces and their heroic sacrifices, which have preserved our freedoms for generations, and our amazing heritage,” Deere told AP.
Go deeper: Trump plans military flyover at Mount Rushmore on July 3 (Politico)