Trump tells Pentagon to explore staging military parade
The White House confirmed on Tuesday that President Donald Trump has asked the Pentagon to explore organizing a major military parade — a desire he first expressed after the martial welcome he received on a visit to France last year.
“President Trump is incredibly supportive of America’s great service members who risk their lives every day to keep our country safe,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “He has asked the Department of Defense to explore a celebration at which all Americans can show their appreciation.”
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Sanders appeared to confirm the gist of an earlier Washington Post article about initial preparations for a parade on par with the one Trump witnessed for Bastille Day.
“The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France,” a military official told The Post. “This is being worked at the highest levels of the military.”
The Pentagon said late Tuesday it is working on the details.
"We are aware of the request and are in the process of determining specific details," it said in a statement. "We will share more information throughout the planning process."
In September, Trump marveled at what "a tremendous thing for France and for the spirit of France" the military parade was. “And people don’t know what great warriors they are in France, but when you see that and you see all the victories, it was a tremendous thing.”
Not everyone thinks it’s a grand idea, however, for the United States to stage a similar display of pomp and circumstance, which some see as undercutting the quiet professionalism of the American armed forces compared to other nations.
“We have more important things to do than to focus on a damn parade,” retired Army Lt. Gen. Mick Bednarek, who most recently headed up the U.S.-led effort against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, told POLITICO. “It detracts from all we are doing.”
In his view the public has plenty of opportunities to give thanks to the troops.
“We have Veterans Day and Memorial Day,” said Bednarek, adding that such an event will be expensive and time-consuming to pull off. "We don’t need to spend Americans’ taxpayer dollars laying on a parade."
He said he also worries that the intention may be less about honoring the troops and more about outdoing other militaries.
“We, as Americans and the Department of Defense, do not want to come across as doing one-upmanship of the North Koreans or the Russians or the Chinese, parading our military might," he said.
Those nations often put on military parades for domestic propaganda purposes and to showcase new military hardware.
"We know our capability," said Bednarek. "I don’t think a separate military parade is needed."
Trump has long been fascinated by the prospect of a military parade and has previously mused to administration officials about holding one in Washington, according to aides. But it wasn’t clear until Tuesday how serious he was about the plan.
The last major U.S. military parade in the nation’s capital was following the lightning-fast American victory over the Iraqi army in the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
February 7, 2018 at 02:24AMNo tags for this post.