President Trump has reportedly ordered his Defense Department to plan a large-scale military parade for him which will take place later this year in Washington, reports The Washington Post.
The Post reported Tuesday that at a Jan. 18 meeting between Trump and top military officials, Trump’s parade wishes were “suddenly heard as a presidential directive.”
“The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France,” one military official told The Washington Post. “This is being worked at the highest levels of the military.”
“The president wants to do something that highlights the service and sacrifice of the military and have a unifying moment for the country,” a White House official told the Washington Post.
The official also told the newspaper that the planning was still in the “brainstorming” stages, and that there is “no meat on the bones” as of yet.
Pentagon officials are reportedly pushing for the parade to be tied to Veterans Day, rather than Independence Day or Memorial Day, because it would appear to be less tied to Trump.
Officials also told the Post that they do not yet know how they will cover the cost of the parade.
Presidential historians told The Post that a parade “smacks of something you see in a totalitarian country,” and also warned that it could evoke nationalism instead of patriotism or could even stoke further tensions with North Korea.
A White House official pushed back on those warnings, saying it would be “the opposite” of totalitarian, because it would be a “celebration of the men and women who give us freedom,” but also said it would be designed as a demonstration of America’s strength and a “warning” to the country’s enemies.
Last September, President Trump told French President Emmanuel Macron that he is considering holding a military parade in Washington, D.C., on Independence Day after watching the Bastille Day celebrations on a recent trip to France.
During a New York trip to the United Nations, Trump marveled at the “military might” on display in Paris for Bastille Day and said seeing the parade inspired him to do something similar in the U.S.
“Because of what I witnessed, we may do something like that on July 4th in Washington down Pennsylvania [Avenue],” Trump said. “We’re thinking … of having a really great parade, to show our military strength.”
“[It’s] more than we’ve ever spent on the military, which is good news for you, because we’re friends,” Trump told Macron.
The Washington Post reported in July that Trump “eagerly” watched the Bastille Day parade, standing and applauding soldiers as they marched past the viewing area where he watched with Macron, his wife, and first lady Melania Trump.
Trump previously expressed an interest in including military vehicles in his inaugural parade.
The Huffington Post reported in March that Trump expressed an interest in including military vehicles in his inaugural parade.
Emails were exchanged between the Presidential Inaugural Committee and Pentagon officials asking for photographs of “military tactical vehicles” that could be used for the parade.
Pentagon officials pushed back on the idea and Trump inauguration officials ultimately scrapped the plan.
“They were legit thinking Red Square/North Korea-style parade,” an inauguration team source told The Huffington Post.
Trump: "We're actually thinking about, 4th of July, Pennsylvania Avenue, having a really great parade to show our military strength." pic.twitter.com/sowDJdNvaY
— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 18, 2017