WASHINGTON — After the projected cost of a military parade this November in D.C. ballooned $80 million over previous cost projections, President Trump tweeted today that he’d find a substitute like going back to France to watch a military parade.
Trump said early this year that he wanted to see a big military parade in D.C. After attending the last Bastille Day parade in Paris in July 2017, 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 2017, 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.
The Pentagon was directed to come up with a plan, per a spring memo, to “focus on the contributions of our Veterans throughout the history of the U.S. Military, starting from the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 to today, with an emphasis on the price of freedom.”
Primary planning for the parade will rest with the Joint Staff, while NORTHCOM was in charge of executing the plan. Defense Secretary James Mattis quickly said only wheeled vehicles would be allowed — “no tanks,” as “consideration must be given to minimize damage to local infrastructure.” D.C. officials had been furious about the prospect of tanks tearing up local streets.
CNBC reported Thursday that the parade originally estimated to cost $12 million now had a price tag of at least $92 million, including $50 million from the Pentagon and $42 million from other agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security.
Comparatively, the parade cost would exceed the $85 million allocation in the National Defense Authorization Act for all UH-60M Black Hawk utility helicopters.
Defense Department spokesman Col. Rob Manning then released a statement announcing a postponement.
“The Department of Defense and White House have been planning a parade to honor America’s military veterans and commemorate the centennial of World War I,” he said. “We originally targeted November 10, 2018 for this event but have now agreed to explore opportunities in 2019.”
Trump tweeted this morning, “The local politicians who run Washington, D.C. (poorly) know a windfall when they see it. When asked to give us a price for holding a great celebratory military parade, they wanted a number so ridiculously high that I cancelled it. Never let someone hold you up! I will instead attend the big parade already scheduled at Andrews Air Force Base on a different date, & go to the Paris parade, celebrating the end of the War, on November 11th. Maybe we will do something next year in D.C. when the cost comes WAY DOWN. Now we can buy some more jet fighters!”
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser tweeted in response, “Yup, I’m Muriel Bowser, mayor of Washington DC, 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).”