- The Trump administration is considering dates for a potential military parade in Washington.
- Trump is believed to have been inspired after attending France’s Bastille Day parade in July.
- White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed on Tuesday that the proposal was under consideration, but it is not yet clear how the government would pay for such an event, which could cost millions of dollars.
President Donald Trump’s desire to stage a military parade in Washington D.C. is being planned and may come to fruition, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed in a statement on Tuesday.
“President Trump is incredibly supportive of America’s great service members who risk their lives every day to keep our country safe,” Sanders said in a statement first published by The Washington Post. “He has asked the Department of Defence to explore a celebration at which all Americans can show their appreciation.”
Officials previously said the event was in the “brainstorming” stages, according to The Post, and may be held this year around a patriotic holiday, such as Independence Day on July 4, or Veterans Day on November 11. Pentagon spokesperson Charlie Summer confirmed as much to CNN, saying potential dates were being considered.
Trump reportedly added that he wanted the parade route to stretch along Pennsylvania Avenue, the same route as his inaugural parade, The Post reported.
Trump floated the idea during a meeting with military officials, including Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joe Dunford, where it was perceived as direct order, sources said to The Post.
“The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France,” a military official familiar with the matter said in the report. “This is being worked at the highest levels of the military.”
Trump’s idea was reportedly triggered by a French military parade he attended in July, in honour of Bastille Day, according to The Post. Trump was met with a grand display of military vehicles and troops, to which he later noted to Macron that “it was one of the greatest parades I’ve ever seen.”
“We’re going to have to try to top it,” Trump reportedly joked to Macron at the UN General Assembly in September.
The news on Tuesday comes as Congress wrangles over a budget deal and dueling demands for immigration reform and border security, over which Trump earlier said he would be willing to entertain another government shutdown.
The cost of a military parade on its own remains an open question. The US government would likely spend millions of dollars to transport combat vehicles and equipment to Washington for such an event. The Post notes that it is not yet clear how the government would pay for it.
Critics have called the idea troubling because of its potential authoritarian overtones, noting Trump’s apparent sympathies toward authoritarian leaders like Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin.