Ex-Ethics Chief Spells Out What Donald Trump's July 4 Bash Was Really All About

Walter Shaub complained that taxpayer dollars had been co-opted "for the benefit of a man whose idea of public service is the public serving him."

Walter Shaub, the former head of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, on Friday critically described President Donald Trump’s takeover of the Fourth of July celebrations in Washington as “a taxpayer-funded campaign ad.”

“Your tax dollars coopted for the benefit of a man whose idea of public service is the public serving him,” tweeted Shaub, in response to Trump posting a video summary of the event that cast the president in a glowing light.

It’s unclear exactly how much taxpayers will have to fork out for Thursday’s festivities, which saw tanks stationed on the capital’s streets and military airplanes flying overhead. Trump also gave a rain-soaked address, which itself became a viral moment.

The final, total cost could soar into the tens of millions of dollars. The National Park Service reportedly diverted around $2.5 million to help pay for the bash.

Shaub, who served in the government ethics role under former President Barack Obama and then resigned after six months working under Trump, said those reported “tens of millions” were “effectively given to the Trump campaign.” 

“This is what it was all about,” he added. “This and revenue for his hotel.”

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