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.”
Trump’s big military parade? This is what dictators do.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) July 3, 2019
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.)
#Trump was bragging about his 4th of July military parade again today. Of course, doubtful he’ll march in it. Bone spurs!! Let’s call his Independence Day celebration what it really is: “The 4th of You Lie!”
— bettemidler (@BetteMidler) July 3, 2019
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)”
You don’t love America (sad) https://t.co/x67hc5twWX
— Kristy Swanson (@KristySwansonXO) July 4, 2019
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.
These taxpayer dollars, which should be used for much needed park improvements, are being used for Trump’s vanity propaganda parade. And his donors are getting VIP tickets. Is diverting government funds for his own self-interest and 2020 campaign legal? #BoycottTrump4thOfJuly https://t.co/VwDvp0xs1L
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) July 3, 2019
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.
Annual federal spending for all NEA Arts programs:
155 million in 2019
Cost of Trump playing with his GI Joe for his 4th of July parade:
90 million and rising. pic.twitter.com/K43x24XI5o
— Billy Baldwin (@BillyBaldwin) July 4, 2019
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.
If the point of the tank parade were truly to honor our nation’s military heroes, than why wasn’t the entrance money “diverted” from national parks put towards helping our homeless or needy veterans???
— Mira Sorvino (@MiraSorvino) July 4, 2019
“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.
One consequence of Trump ordering a 4th of July heavy armor parade in D.C. is that the controversy will be experienced uncomfortably by many service members.
I hope they all remember that they are respected & appreciated by those who oppose the President’s political tactic.
— Sean Astin (@SeanAstin) July 3, 2019
Actress Morgan Fairchild criticized the seating arrangements for the parade viewing and compared the event to Russian military parades.
Why is our 4th of July celebration, that was open to the people, looking more and more like a Russian MayDay Parade? With tickets for Trump family and friends on the front row? https://t.co/xFKBh3INtb
— Morgan Fairchild (@morgfair) July 1, 2019
Oscar nominee Don Cheadle went further, posting an Esquire article calling the parade “authoritarian performance art.”
President Trump's Fourth of July Military Parade Is Authoritarian Performance Art https://t.co/SKeqkftjvj
— Don" 't stop believing" Cheadle (@DonCheadle) July 3, 2019
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!”
We're going to have a great Reelect ME Campaign Rally on the taxpayers dime w/ fireworks provided for ME by big donors-all disguised as a "Salute to America" (& by America-I mean ME) I told you Kim Jon-un & ME fell in love & if this doesn't impress him-nothing will! 🇰🇵+ME=❤️#MAGA https://t.co/ddo3diRybD
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) July 3, 2019
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.
— Daniel Dae Kim (@danieldaekim) July 4, 2019
Actor Chris Meloni compared the military parade to those of other nations.
Looking forward to the parade today pic.twitter.com/fkxJ7R3mlg
— Chris Meloni (@Chris_Meloni) July 4, 2019
— Chris Meloni (@Chris_Meloni) July 4, 2019
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.”
In the face of a humanitarian crisis, that this malignant narcissist would steal taxpayer dollars to stage a partisan display of Autocracy to massage his damaged psyche is nothing short of sociopathic.
— Rob Reiner (@robreiner) July 3, 2019
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”
Dear Brothers and Sisters join me in Prayer to protect our nation for the infection we have been plagued with from within- 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 pic.twitter.com/z68656lSot
— Robert Davi (@RobertJohnDavi) July 4, 2019
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.
— Stacey DASH (@staceydash) July 4, 2019
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”
Boom: Donations to Trump’s July Fourth ‘Salute’ to double fireworks display, longest ever https://t.co/9aGKjZaDcQ
— Kevin Sorbo (@ksorbs) July 3, 2019
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.
Womp womp https://t.co/6kkeujNfDN
— kristen johnston (@thekjohnston) July 4, 2019
“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.”
Sorry LA. I meant that for Washington.
— God (@TheTweetOfGod) July 4, 2019
Sometimes rain is Me crying because I'm laughing so hard. #TrumpParade
— God (@TheTweetOfGod) July 4, 2019