Activists planning to fly the “Baby Trump” blimp during ’s “Salute to America” event on July 4 were told by the National Park Service (NPS) that they could not fill the balloon with helium, essentially grounding the giant inflatable.
While the park service reportedly granted feminist anti-war group Code Pink a permit to have the balloon in Washington Thursday, the permit does not allow the group to fill the 20-foot representation of Trump with helium and float it off the ground.
“It is ironic that it is right here, in the ‘land of the free,’ the balloon is being grounded,” Code Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin said in a statement.
NPS rules do not allow helium-filled blimps, and park service spokesman Mike Litterst told The Washington Post that the no-fly zone includes downtown Washington.
Additionally, the permit approved by the park service did not allow the group to fly the balloon in the requested location, meant to be within line of sight of the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall, where Trump will give a speech Thursday evening.
Instead, the “Baby Trump” balloon will be stationed near the Washington Monument, where it will be allowed to stay for 15 hours throughout the day’s festivities.
The “Salute to America” event will feature two firework shows totaling more than 30 minutes and a flyover from military aircraft.
It will also include tanks that will be stationed along the National Mall.
Trump’s high-profile involvement in the annual Independence Day festivities in Washington has spurred criticism from several Democratic lawmakers and local officials who allege the event will create unnecessary costs at the taxpayer’s expense, and that it politicizes what should be an apolitical celebration.
“The president is not going to get political,” White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said on Fox Business Network on Tuesday. “He’s going to celebrate the greatest country, the greatest idea in the history of the world, and that is the United States of America.”