'We have a Napoleon in the making': Lawmakers rain on Trump's military-parade idea

Richard Ellis/Getty ImagesDonald Trump with a replica flintlock rifle awarded to him by cadets during the Republican Society Patriot Dinner at the Citadel Military College in 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina.
  • Democratic lawmakers scoffed at reports of President Donald Trump’s proposal to stage a military parade.
  • Trump reportedly floated the idea to officials after witnessing France’s military parade in July during that country’s Bastille Day celebration.

Some lawmakers are shooting down the idea of a grand military parade that President Donald Trump reportedly proposed to US military officials last month.

“I was stunned by it to be quite honest,” Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier of California told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Tuesday. “I mean, we have a Napoleon in the making here.”

Trump’s inspiration for the parade came after he witnessed France’s armed forces march during Bastille Day in July, according to a Washington Post report.

The president floated the idea during a meeting with US military officials including Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Trump’s musing was perceived as a direct order, sources said in The Post’s report.

The plan is reportedly in its “brainstorming” stages and may be held this year around a patriotic holiday, like Independence Day on July 4 or Veterans Day on November 11.

Speier called the idea “a waste of money” and said “everybody should be offended by his need to always be showing.”

“It’s not our style, it’s not the way we do business, and I really object to it,” Speier continued. “And I think it’s going to cost a lot of money. So what’s really in it for the American people?”

Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu, a colonel in the Air Force Reserves, also criticised the plan, saying “basically anything” was better than funding a military parade:

“Dear Donald Trump: You know what would be more useful than asking the Pentagon to waste money on a big military parade? Basically anything,” he said:

Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, a former lieutenant colonel in the Army, also weighed in and called Trump “Cadet Bone Spurs,” apparently a reference to an ailment Trump used as justification for a draft deferment during the Vietnam War.

Duckworth said on Twitter: “We don’t live in a dictatorship or a monarchy. I swore an oath – in the military and in the Senate- to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, not to mindlessly cater to the whims of Cadet Bone Spurs and clap when he demands I clap.”

Duckworth also tweeted an image of Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th US president, and added: “Thankfully, there are better quotes from better Republican Presidents. Here’s one from Theodore Roosevelt – a Republican who earned the applause he received – that Trump might want to consider.”

The Roosevelt quote said: “To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but it is treasonable to the American public.”

The CNN analyst Mark Hertling, a retired Army lieutenant general, said he had a “bemused smile” when he heard of the reports.

“I had to smile, Anderson,” Hertling told Cooper. “It’s an interesting request from the president to his military.

“It is not in the culture of the United States military,” Hertling continued. “That is not who we are from our founding fathers. The military were civilians that came together and protected our democracy. It’s not an overt effort to show how tough you are.”

Funding for the proposed parade remains an open question. The US government would most likely spend millions of dollars to transport vehicles and equipment to Washington for the event, expenses that would come at a time when military funding is already a topic of negotiation.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.