Tanks have begun arriving in Washington DC after Donald Trump said the military hardware would be part of his Independence Day celebrations.
At least two M1A1 Abrams tanks and two Bradley Fighting Vehicles were spotted on rail transporters at the south-eastern edge of the capital.
Military police were guarding the vehicles, which were visible to passers-by on nearby paths.
The US president had wanted a military parade of tanks and other equipment in the District of Columbia after he witnessed a similar parade on Bastille Day in Paris in 2017. That plan was eventually scuttled, partly because of cost, but Mr Trump apparently held on to the idea.
Local officials had also objected because of the damage the heavy armoured tanks could do to city streets.
“We’re going to have some tanks stationed outside,” Mr Trump said from the White House Oval Office, appearing to acknowledge local officials’ earlier concerns.
He offered no specifics on where the vehicles would be located for the July 4 celebrations.
“You’ve got to be pretty careful with the tanks because the roads have a tendency not to like to carry heavy tanks,” he said. “So we have to put them in certain areas, but we have the brand new Sherman tanks and we have the brand new Abrams tanks.”
The Sherman was the most widely used tank by US forces during the Second World War, but they have been out of service for decades. The M1A1 Abrams is currently the main US battle tank.
Two M1A1 Abrams tanks and two Bradley Fighting Vehicles will be on display as part of Mr Trump’s Salute to America event, according to a US official.
Abrams tanks weigh more than 60 tons and were shipped on railway freight cars, from Fort Stewart, Georgia.
Mr Trump recalled his visit earlier this year to a plant in Lima, Ohio, where M1A1 Abrams tanks are refurbished. The plant had been at risk of closure but remained operational due to his investments in defence spending.
“We have some incredible equipment, military equipment on display — brand new,” Mr Trump said. “And we’re very proud of it.
“You know we’re making a lot of new tanks right now. We’re building a lot of new tanks in Lima, Ohio — our great tank factory that people wanted to close down until I got elected and I stopped it from being closed down, and now it’s a very productive facility.”
Thursday’s events are also expected to include a military demonstration by the US Navy Blue Angels and other aircraft.
“We’re going to have a great Fourth of July in Washington DC. It’ll be like no other,” Mr Trump said.
“It’ll be special and I hope a lot of people come. And it’s going to be about this country and it’s a salute to America.
“I’m going to say a few words and we’re going to have planes going overhead, the best fighter jets in the world and other planes too.”
Trump plans to deliver a speech at the Lincoln Memorial during the event, which has been added to the regular schedule of Independence Day events in the nation’s capital.
The event is open to the public and free of charge, but a ticket-only area in front of the memorial is being set aside for VIPs, including members of Mr Trump’s family, friends and members of the military, the White House said.
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?