As part of the celebration, which will include military flyovers and performances from each military branch, Trump requested that tanks be stationed at the mall

(Breitbart) – President Trump’s critics spent much of this week handwringing over his request to put two tanks on the National Mall as part of his Fourth of July extravaganza to celebrate the U.S. armed forces.

Throughout the week, two M1A2 Abrams tanks, as well as two M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, were spotted being transported on a flatbed truck to the Mall.

Lawrence Tribe, a Harvard University professor, compared the two tanks on the Mall to the Chinese Communist Party’s crackdown on pro-democracy protesters at Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 1989.

“The resemblance to days before Tiananmen Square is chilling,” he wrote, suggesting that a brutal military crackdown was on the verge of occurring.

Comedian Bill Maher called the tanks part of a “Dictator Checklist”:

A Time editor-at-large tweeted, “Putin’s America,” along with a video a passerby captured of the two Bradleys being transported in:

He later seemed to back down, adding, “I love the people who are trying to explain to me that armed vehicles have been spotted in America before. I’m aware of that. It’s just Twitter. Chill.”

A Libyan-American writer tweeted in response to the two Bradleys: “Bonkers. It’s like footage from a war zone.”

Some even suggested, with four to six armored vehicles in Washington, that a “coup d’etat was in place.”

A New York Times columnist suggested the country was drifting “towards the unimaginable” — with “tanks in the nation’s capital”:

However, as a handful of defense journalists pointed out, there are armored vehicles every year in Washington, during the U.S. Army’s annual Association of the U.S. Army conference and its Army Ten Miler expo.

This Breitbart News reporter captured a photo of a Patriot Missile Launcher that was in Washington, D.C., for the expo in October 2017: