The Republican National Convention’s massive pro-Trump fireworks show at the National Mall last summer caused $42,150 worth of damage to the grounds of the Washington Monument, according to records obtained by CREW. The repairs needed by the National Park Service included turf damage and scorch marks from setting up and firing the fireworks, additional turf damage from setup, security and takedown vehicles and a damaged drinking fountain. The RNC has since paid the bill in full.
Previously, CREW found that Park Service employees spent nearly 4,000 hours working on the fireworks show, resulting in $177,000 worth of labor costs by public employees that the RNC apparently reimbursed. The RNC also had to pay for damages to the White House’s South Lawn and Fort McHenry that happened as a result of the convention. The costs of those damages are unknown.
While Trump repeatedly used national parks for his own benefit, the RNC’s firework show was especially egregious. The display commandeered government grounds in the heart of the nation’s capital to be the background for a Trump campaign spectacle, and the setup and damages yet again caused public employees to act as de facto Trump campaign staffers.
The multiple damages and costs incurred by the RNC highlight Trump’s unabashed willingness to abuse federal land and resources for his own political gain, and the coziness between Trump’s campaign and administration. In addition to helping coordinate the 2020 RNC, Trump’s Interior department hosted other fireworks displays, released pro-Trump propaganda and promoted Trump’s unofficial twitter on official Interior Department twitter accounts. In November 2020, the Office of Special Counsel opened an investigation into whether officials at the Interior Department illegally created and distributed propaganda to prop up President Trump and his re-election effort following a CREW complaint.
CREW obtained these records as part of an ongoing lawsuit to reveal the full cost to taxpayers of Trump’s rampant use of Interior resources for self-aggrandizement.