Trump postpones military parade until 2019, citing ‘inflated’ costs

August 20, 2018

Everyone loves a parade—or do they? Last February, President Donald Trump asked the Pentagon to plan a parade showcasing U.S. military might—similar to the one that he and the FLOTUS attended in Paris on July 14 in celebration of Bastille Day.

He was in love with the idea of seeing tanks and tactical vehicles rolling down Pennsylvania Avenue—but the American people? Not so much. In fact, based on findings of an informal poll conducted by the Army Times, most people don’t support it. Nearly 9 out of 10, (89%) of that publication’s readers who responded said the parade would be “a waste of money and troops are too busy.” Another 11% supported the idea, describing it as a “great opportunity to show off [the] U.S. military.”

On August 17, The New York Times reported, Trump was forced to postpone plans for a military parade this fall in Washington, D.C.—blaming local officials for inflating the costs and saying they “know a windfall when they see it.”

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser  pushed back on Twitter, saying that she had “finally got thru” to the president to convey the “realities” of what it costs to stage events like military parades in the city. She put the number at $21.6 million, although, she stipulated, the city’s costs are just a fraction of the total, with federal agencies also kicking in millions of dollars.

A day earlier, the Pentagon said Mr. Trump’s parade to celebrate the military could be postponed to 2019, as officials acknowledged that the event could cost more than $90 million.

The parade was initially scheduled for November 10— Veterans Day weekend—of this year. In a pair of tweets, the POTUS allowed for the possibility of a parade in 2019, the Times said. He speculated that this year he would, instead, attend another parade planned at Joint Base Andrews and a military parade in Paris.

The president also took a jab at the local government in Washington, saying the city is poorly” run. Mayor Bowser, a Democrat, slapped back—mocking the president by ending her tweet with a parenthetical “sad” — a word Trump often uses in his own tweets.

Estimates for such events often are based on past costs for similar parades. For the 2017 inauguration, which included a parade, officials estimated that it would cost the city $20 million, according to The Washington Post. Federal agencies put up millions of dollars, as well. Most of the costs are security-related expenses.

On August 16, Secretary of Denfense James Mattis,  supported his boss by dismissing reports of a cost estimate of more than $90 million, saying, “I guarantee you there’s been no cost estimate.”

Large military parades are atypical in America, although President George H.W. Bush staged one in the nation’s capital in 1991 after the conclusion of the Persian Gulf War.

Research contact: tcopp@militarytimes.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *