A slight majority of Americans approves of President Donald Trump's plans to transform the annual Fourth of July festivities on the National Mall by giving a speech from the Lincoln Memorial, according to an independent poll.
Just over half -- 52% -- were okay with Trump breaking tradition to appear at the Memorial for the address, while 34% were opposed, the Monmouth University Poll released Monday showed.
However, the poll also showed that only 20% had heard much about Trump's plans. From that subset of 20% who were more informed, 56% disapproved and 37% approved, the poll found.
Of all those surveyed, 81% of Republicans, 55% of independents, and 27% of Democrats support the president's plan to give the speech, the poll found.
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In a statement, Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, New Jersey, said "Trump's plan to speak in the middle of the National Mall is flying under the radar right now."
"Those who know about it, though, seem to worry that it could detract from a day when the nation comes together to celebrate our founding," Murray said.
The poll of 751 adults was conducted by telephone from June 12-17, before details began to emerge from the Interior Department, which runs the National Park Service, and Trump himself on the extensive plans to embellish what had been a traditional Independence Day gathering on the Mall for concerts, fireworks and picnics.
Past presidents have either been out of town or stayed away from the Mall to hold bipartisan picnics on the White House lawn to watch the fireworks, according to a historical listing from the National Park Service.
The last president to go to the Mall on Independence Day was President Harry Truman in 1951. He gave an address from the grounds of the Washington Monument on the Korean War, the Park Service said.
In his showman's style, Trump has said that his makeover of the Fourth of July events will result in them being bigger and more spectacular than ever before.
"It'll be like no other, it'll be special, and I hope a lot of people come," Trump said Monday in the Oval Office, although the weather forecast for Thursday in Washington, D.C., was for rain and the possibility of thunderstorms.
His still evolving plan included adding to the event military flyovers, tanks on display, a parade, extended fireworks and his address from the Lincoln Memorial before a ticketed audience.
The tanks had been a question mark until Monday when Trump announced that the 60-ton plus tracked vehicles would be featured at the events, although how and where was not immediately disclosed.
"We're going to have some tanks outside" the main events on the Mall, apparently on display and not rolling to avoid damage to the streets, Trump said Monday in the Oval Office.
"You've got to be pretty careful with the tanks, because the roads have a tendency not to like to carry heavy tanks 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," Trump said.
The M1A1 Abrams tank is the main battle tank of the U.S. military, and Trump said Sunday in South Korea that 165 new Abrams tanks were included in the defense budget. Pentagon officials were clueless on what Trump meant by "brand new Sherman tanks." The Sherman tank has not been in the U.S. inventory since the 1950s.
-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.