Published: Mon, August 20, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

The Trump military parade was always a really bad idea

The Trump military parade was always a really bad idea

He accused local Washington officials of seeking a "windfall" with a "ridiculously high" price tag for the parade.

He added, "Maybe we will do something next year in D.C. when the cost comes WAY DOWN".

The President said he will instead "attend the big parade already scheduled at Andrews Air Force Base on a different date, (and) go to the Paris parade, celebrating the end of the War, on November 11th".

Lt. Col. Jamie Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said earlier on Thursday that Defense Department planning for the parade "continues and final details are still being developed". At the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron, Trump watched enthusiastically from a reviewing stand as the French military showcased its tanks and fighter jets, including many USA -made planes, along the famed Champs-Elysees.

Instead of buying new fighter jets, as Trump had suggested in his tweet, critics said the money saved from not having a parade could be better spent improving the lives of veterans.

President Donald Trump poses for photographs while greeting members of the military on the tarmac upon his arrival on Air Force One at Francis S. Gabreski Airport in Westhampton, N.Y., Friday, Aug. 17, 2018.

Muriel Bowser spoke to The Associated Press on Friday after Trump canceled the parade because of soaring costs. If such a parade - or a somewhat smaller version of it - were to be held next year, what sort of message would it send?

Officials have been planning the event since earlier this year, when the president, apparently inspired by a similar display he observed last year in France, discussed the parade in a meeting with senior officials at the Pentagon. Are corrupt local officials to blame as Trump alleged? And that set off a volley of tweets and accusations between the president and the mayor of the nation's capital.

The City of Washington is typically reimbursed for such expenses by the federal government.

Washington, D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser, a Democrat, hit back at Trump, saying in a Twitter post that she was "the local politician who finally got thru to the reality star in the White House with the realities ($21.6M) of parades/events/demonstrations in Trump America (sad)". About this he wrote on Twitter, reports UNN.

Bowser said in an interview that she found Trump's accusation that District officials were trying to exaggerate the city's security and logistical costs galling, especially since the city had been working to plan the event with little lead time.

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"The District has a long history of hosting parades, protests, and demonstrations including National Special Security Events", Bowser said. As the Pentagon began planning for the USA version, the cost became a politically charged issue - as did the prospect of streets in the nation's capital being churned up by tank treads.

By Thursday, it became clear that a $30 million parade by November wasn't going to happen. It also was expected to involve a number of military aircraft flyovers, which can carry significant costs in personnel, aircraft and support.

"We had a general idea that it was from the Capitol to the White House, but that's it", the official said.

The United States has not held a major military parade in Washington D.C. since the end of Operation Desert Storm was marked in 1991.

"There is only one person who wants this parade", a senior US official told NBC News, referring to Trump.

In a statement Thursday evening, the Department of Defense said they and the White House "have now agreed to explore opportunities in 2019".

But it now appears that number did not account for a number of factors, including inflation and the significant security demands placed upon Washington after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Not covering the medical costs of transgender troops, which Trump deemed too expensive as justification for his trans military ban.

Throughout the day, multiple US officials had confirmed the $92 million estimate that was put together by the interagency parade planning group.

The cost of a single fighter jet can vary dramatically, but some models could cost about the same as the $92 million estimate.

He added, "The $20 million you just mentioned is a number, that's a number that I'm not familiar with". I would discount that. "Anybody who said that, nearly guarantee one thing, they probably said 'I need to stay anonymous.' No kidding, because you look like an idiot".

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