WASHINGTON — The D.C. delegate to Congress vowed that the District would “fight a shutdown” that President Trump’s desired military parade would inflict on the city, adding that all federal and no local funds would have to cover the cost.
After attending the last Bastille Day parade in Paris back in July, Trump said that “to a large extent, because of what I witnessed, we may do something like that on July 4th in Washington, down Pennsylvania Avenue.”
In November, Trump likewise praised a military parade he witnessed in China.
“The hosting of the military parade this morning was magnificent, and the world was watching. I’ve already had people calling from all parts of the world. They were all watching. Nothing you can see is so beautiful,” he said of the communist nation’s show of strength.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday that Trump “is incredibly supportive of America’s great service members who risk their lives every day to keep our country safe” and “has asked the Department of Defense to explore a celebration at which all Americans can show their appreciation.”
Defense officials have indicated that planning is underway, including possible dates that could include Veterans Day in November.
“President’s Trump’s desire to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on a military parade in the style of authoritarian leaders he admires would feed his ego and perhaps his base, rather than serve any legitimate purpose or keep with any long-held American traditions,” Del. Eleanor Holmes-Norton (D-D.C.) said today. “While the District of Columbia, as the nation’s capital, is proud to host grand federal celebrations, such as the inauguration, we will fight a shutdown of our city that simply assuages Trump’s desire to brag and boast in a series of tweets.”
“No one on Earth doubts that the American military is the most powerful in the world,” Norton added. “Unlike less powerful nations, the United States has no need to show off by strutting our soldiers and equipment to prove our strength and leadership. Instead of wasting precious taxpayer resources, the way to show our service members and veterans that we appreciate their service is to use the military parade money to fund their health care and other services they need now.”
D.C.’s Council trolled the parade story with a morning tweet on freezing rain slicking local roads:
The DC government will open on time today.
DC Public Schools will open on time today.
Sadly, the Giant Tank Parade is cancelled. Permanently. pic.twitter.com/mQmElqs3Tt
— Council of DC (@councilofdc) February 7, 2018
The official council account followed up later with, “Speaking of coffee, maybe I’ll have a French roast. Some French things are worth imitating.”
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office said of Trump’s parade wish: “We do know that just like the wall, he will have to pay for it.”
Democrats in Congress were also sounding off about the murky parade plans, with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) comparing it to a Soviet May Day parade — “not an image that we much associate with the United States of America.”
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told CNN a Trump parade would be different than the last military parade thrown in D.C. by President George H.W. Bush in 1991 to celebrate victory in the Persian Gulf war.
“The first Gulf War was extraordinary in terms of how swift it was, how well it was executed, and how little loss of life we had,” Hoyer said. “I don’t think anybody has to be against a military parade. But again, I think what we ought to focus on is our military and its strength, its training, its readiness, and its patriotism. A parade is one way of doing that. I don’t think we ought to get deeply involved in that. But it also can be perceived as jingoist in some respects, saber-rattling in some respects. So I think we ought to measure that and compare that to what we want to project to the world.”