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Trump's costly July Fourth event bankrupted Washington's security, anti-terror fund

Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a letter to the president that she wants the federal government to reimburse D.C. millions of dollars.
Image: Donald Trump Salute to America
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump leave after attending the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, on July 4, 2019.Mandel Ngan / AFP - Getty Images file

President Donald Trump's military-style July Fourth parade drained a special Washington, D.C., city fund designed to help pay for extra security and anti-terrorism measures during large events in the nation's capital, the mayor said in a letter to the White House.

Expenses related to security at Trump's parade exhausted the fund — known as the Emergency Planning and Security (ESPF) fund — and are expected to soon put it $6 million in the red, D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser explained in the letter written to Trump on Tuesday.

Bowser said the amount used from the fund for "your additional July 4th holiday activities and subsequent First Amendment demonstrations" totaled $1.7 million and that the amount would deplete the account. She asked Trump to help have the city reimbursed.

"It is critical that the EPSF is fully reimbursed for these funds to ensure the District can uphold proper security and support during the remainder of the fiscal year without incurring a deficit for federal activities," Bowser wrote in the letter obtained by NBC News, adding that "we ask for your help with ensuring the residents of the District of Columbia are not asked to cover millions of dollars of federal expenses and are able to maintain our high standards of protection for federal events."

The EPSF is funded with federal money designed to reimburse the city for costs incurred to provide security and maintain public safety for events such as presidential inaugurations, rallies and visits by foreign officials.

The Washington Post first reported on Bowser's letter.

Bowser, a Democrat, added that the fund's reserves had earlier been depleted by $7.3 million for security costs related to Trump’s 2017 presidential inauguration, an "increased demand for heightened security," as well as "some unplanned events."

The White House has not responded to a request for comment.

Trump's July Fourth “Salute to America” put on full display American military strength, drawing large crowds gathered on the national mall and an array of protesters.

The event featured sweeping flyovers by warplanes, helicopters and even Air Force One, and tanks parked outside the Lincoln Memorial.

Throughout his remarks, Trump praised the military branches and promised that "very soon, the space force" would join them.

Protesters were out in force ahead of the event. Code Pink, an anti-war group, put up a 20-foot-tall diaper-clad balloon of an infant Trump in the shadow of the Washington Monument — though the "Baby Trump" blimp was later deflated amid stormy weather.