CNN's Jake Tapper discussed with his panel the potential outcomes of President Trump's Fourth of July celebration that will include a parade showing off American military hardware. Tapper wondered if generals standing with Trump will walk off the stage if the president "starts attacking his enemies" and "bad-mouthing the press."
"What if these generals are standing there with the president, and all of a sudden he starts serving up red meat, he starts attacking his enemies, political enemies, he starts bad-mouthing the press?" Tapper asked.
"What do you do if you're a general and you're sitting up there and you're seen as endorsing this?" Tapper added.
The CNN host also addressed the possibility that Trump "might actually be very restrained" and delivers a "lovely celebration."
"We don't know, he might actually be very restrained," Tapper said Wednesday. "He might actually be very modest. It might be a lovely celebration and not my country 'tis of true."
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: You know who is not giving him the benefit doubt is the liberal group Vote Vets.
They are distributing 6,000 of these USS John McCain shirts. And in an effort to I think trigger President Trump, upset him, given the fact that the president is not a particular fan of the late senator.
KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.
No, I mean, look, here's the problem that I have with it. If we had any evidence to suggest that we could trust President Trump, then I would be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. But just the way that he's talked about this, the way -- I mean, the lies in terms of how much -- the misinformation, shall I say, about how much it's going to cost, particularly if you think about the fights that we have been having about needing more money to take care of the crisis at the border.
He can -- you can find the money if it's a priority. And I also think the administration is not thinking about -- just think about the juxtaposition of those images of those children in cages. And here is Donald Trump. And there are these, you know, things flying overhead and the tanks.
Is that really the message we want to send about America? There's a much better way to honor our troops.
TAPPER: And, Seung Min, there's a piece that just went up in "The Washington Post" by Greg Jaffe, your colleague, noting that there's a real debate going on right now. What if these generals are standing there with the president, and all of a sudden he starts serving up red meat, he starts attacking his enemies, political enemies, he starts bad-mouthing the press?
What do you do if you're a general and you're sitting up there and you're seen as endorsing this?
SEUNG MIN KIM, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And that is going to put the members of the military in a very difficult position, because, even at official events, a lot of times, the president has this campaign rally feel at these -- again, these official events.
I was just in Japan and South Korea, where the last event that the president had before we left again for Washington was an event speaking to the soldiers at Osan Air Base in Seoul. But when we got there, it did have this very campaign rally feeling.
And I think that's going to be a very difficult position for members of the military. We saw how difficult that was for the military, and also for the Acting Secretary Patrick Shanahan, when the issue with the USS McCain came up.
So that's, again, something that we're going to have to watch.
MAEVE RESTON, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And it is such a fascinating contrast tomorrow with all of the Democrats out on the trail doing the usual Fourth of July thing, which we have all done, running behind a candidate along the parade route, where it's all about interacting at a one-on-one level with Americans.
And I think that it's problematic for Trump, in the sense that these are the optics, especially with -- we're going to have protest floats flying overhead, the baby Trump float.
And these are the kinds of optics that reminds people of what they don't like about him, that need for sort of self-glorification and to look like a big world power, when everyone knows that we are a huge world power.
So I think it'll be an interesting thing to -- contrast to watch.
TAPPER: Well, I mean, but your point, Alice, that we don't know, he might actually be very restrained. He might actually be very modest. It might be a lovely celebration and not my country 'tis of true.
ALICE STEWART, REPUBLICAN OPERATIVE: True. And that would be a reason for celebration right there, if that's the way it is. I'm going to be optimistic.
He has wanted to have a similar type of event and salute to our military for quite some time. It just hasn't worked out in terms of the proper venue, the proper time.
I think this was a wonderful time to do it. I think especially with the Democrats out there, they will be getting a lot of attention on the campaign trail at the Fourth of July festivities. And I think that's great.
But this is something that president has wanted to do. He is the president of the United States. He can do this. And instead of everyone getting so angry about he's hijacking this event, let's all take this as an opportunity to celebrate our patriotism.