WASHINGTON — The National Mall on Independence Day has always been the ultimate equalizer. For decades, families and friends of all walks of life sat together on the grass and dirt under a florescent sky of pinwheels.
With a shift to the Lincoln Memorial, there will be VIP seating for the President's Salute to America.
The swath of reserved seats is fenced off from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and about mid-way down the Reflecting Pool, giving his guests of honor, the best seats in the house.
Anyone entering the reserved section, which has separate access points from the regular viewing area, will undergo extra screening by the U.S. Secret Service.
"The Secret Service is concerned with the security of the event, the White House is dealing with the issuance of tickets," Matthew Miller, Special Agent in charge of the U.S. Secret Service Washington Field Office.
Seats are reserved for VIPs, friends and family of the military and veterans.
According to a Democratic National Committee official, the DNC has not received tickets for Trump's VIP section. The Republican National Committee has.
“It’s standard practice for the RNC to receive a small number of tickets to events just as the DNC did under Democrat Presidents. This is routine for events like the White House Christmas Open Houses, Garden Tours in spring and fall, etc," an RNC spokesperson said.
“The President routinely puts...his political interests and his financial interests ahead of the American people," Donald K. Sherman, Deputy Director at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said. "Tomorrow we’ll see the presidents donors sitting ahead of the American People and in some ways it’s a very useful symbol.”
The optics aren't good, Sherman explained.
"There's the optics issue of the President literally putting his political donors ahead of the American people," he said.
The bleachers should not obstruct the sight line of the fireworks, the White House said.
The lights show will last 35 minutes, from 9:07 p.m. to 9:42 p.m, the U.S. National Park Service says.