President Donald Trump is already receiving pushback on his request for a military parade in Washington, D.C. from federal lawmakers and city officials. Now, a retired Army general is also speaking out against the idea.
Major General Paul Eaton, who is most known for overseeing operations to train Iraqi troops during Operation Iraqi Freedom, issued a statement via VoteVets in which he accused Trump of trying to use the military as “stagecraft to prop up” his image.
He referred to the president as a “wannabe banana republic strongman.”
“Donald Trump has continually shown himself to have authoritarian tendencies, and this is just another worrisome example,” Eton said. “For someone who just declared that it was ‘treasonous’ to not applaud him, and for someone who has, in the past, admired the tactics of everyone from Saddam Hussein to Vladmir Putin, it is clear that a military parade isn’t about saluting the military—it is about making a display of the military saluting him.”
While many opponents have focused on the exorbitant cost of the military parade down Pennsylvania Avenue, Eaton noted the authoritarian overtones of such a parade.
“The military is not Donald Trump’s to use and abuse this way. Our military is the very best in the world—they are not to be reduced to stagecraft to prop up Donald Trump’s image,” Eaton said. “Any commander in chief who respects the traditions of the military would understand that. Unfortunately, we do not have a commander in chief, right now, as much as we have a wannabe banana republic strongman.”
Retired Major General Paul Eaton says @realDonaldTrump‘s parade idea underscores his authoritarian tendencies, and that our military is not there to be “used and abused” to prop up his image.
VoteVets full statement on Trump’s orders for a military parade. pic.twitter.com/Am7uSSWZfo
— VoteVets (@votevets) February 7, 2018
The Washington Post revealed that Trump requested the Pentagon look into the logistics of holding a military parade, having been inspired by a similar parade he attended on Bastille Day in France this past year.
This isn’t the first time that Eaton has been critical of Trump. In July 2016, he appeared in a campaign ad criticizing then-candidate Trump as “Too Dangerous for America.”