US watchdogs: Trump’s Independence Day gala in 2019 cost $13 million

US government watchdogs say US President Trump’s Fourth of July gala in the country’s capital last year cost taxpayers more than $13 million, twice as much as previous celebrations.

Trump’s desire to have Department of Defense military vehicles participate helped drive up the cost, according to the Government Accountability Office. The president’s attendance also increased expenses.

Some other costs, such as for military flyovers of the National Mall, were not included in the estimate, the report says.

Trump’s military-focused Independence Day event went beyond the traditional concert and fireworks of years past.

The GAO estimates that holiday celebrations from 2016 to 2018 cost between $6 million and $7 million annually.

— AP

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