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RNC requests fireworks at Washington Monument for convention finale

By Jean Lotus
RNC requests fireworks at Washington Monument for convention finale
The Republican National Committee has requested a permit for fireworks to explode over the National Mall in Washington, D.C. after President Donald Trump's speech accepting the party's nomination for re-election. File Photo by Anna Moneymaker/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 17 (UPI) -- The Republican National Committee has requested a permit from the National Parks Service to cap off President Donald Trump's acceptance speech with a fireworks display at the Washington Monument on Aug. 27.

GOP committee organizers plan a five-minute fireworks display at the National Mall around 11:30 p.m. after the president accepts the party's nomination for re-election, according to a permit application obtained by the New York Times.

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"A permit application was received on Friday from the RNC," Mike Litterst, chief of communications for the National Mall, said in an email to UPI. "It is still being processed; no decision has been made yet and no permit has been issued."

The Washington Monument is closed to visitors because of the pandemic, according to the National Park Service website.

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The permit also requests permission for the RNC to film locations around the National Mall, the Times reported. The permit acknowledges that protesters might be present during the president's acceptance speech on the South Lawn of the White House and at events following, The Hill reported.

Critics have complained that Trump and the Republicans are politicizing National Parks Service properties as part of the president's re-election campaign. Although the president is immune from the 1930's-era Hatch Act, which prohibits politicking on federal property, federal employees are not.

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Trump also said he considered giving his acceptance speech at the Gettysburg National Military Park, also a National Park Service site.

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"Applicable law does provide a variety of technical exemptions, which a clever lawyer might stitch together to claim that this is permissible," Norman Eisen, former Obama White House ethics chief told the Pittsburgh Gazette. "But those loopholes do not contemplate an event of this highly partisan nature of this scope and scale, and the forced political labor of the hundreds, if not thousands, of federal personnel."

Because of public health protocols due to the coronavirus pandemic, Republican National Convention events Aug. 24-27 will be held in multiple locations, including some events in Charlotte, N.C., and others in Washington, D.C. Trump canceled events planned for Jacksonville, Fla.

The Democrats start their trimmed-down convention this week. Originally planned for Milwaukee, the party will conduct the event virtually.

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