President Donald Trump has instructed the Pentagon to look into planning a large-scale military parade in the nation’s capital that would mirror the parade he attended last year in France for Bastille Day.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have questioned the costs involved in bringing military vehicles, personnel and armaments for a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue — especially with the legislature still working out a long-term spending bill to fund the federal government.
Instead of a parade, they said, money should be directed to making sure the troops are ready for battle and better equipped to survive, and towards fixing military housing and VA hospital care.
Now, Trump’s idea for an expensive military parade with questionable optics is facing pushback from the capital city.
The DC government, which would presumably be a major stakeholder in any large event on Pennsylvania Avenue, “has not received an official request to be involved in planning” a military parade for Trump, spokesperson for Mayor Bowser tells me.
— Benjamin Freed (@brfreed) February 7, 2018
Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office said that D.C. will not be paying for any part of Trump’s parade, and that Trump would have to fund it himself.
Bowser’s spokeswoman Anu Rangappa — who said D.C. officials have not yet been contacted formally about a parade — likened the funding quagmire to another of Trump’s ideas: the border wall with Mexico
“In the meantime, we do know that, just like the wall, he will have to pay for it,” Rangapa said.
Requests to fund the border wall have met strong resistance in Congress and has been at the crux of short-term funding bills and any immigration deal between both parties and the White House.
Washington D.C.’s legislative body, the D.C. Council, also appeared to reject the notion of a military parade on Twitter.
““The DC government will open on time today. DC Public Schools will open on time today. Sadly, the Giant Tank Parade is cancelled. Permanently,” the Council tweeted.
The DC government will open on time today.
DC Public Schools will open on time today.
Sadly, the Giant Tank Parade is cancelled. Permanently. pic.twitter.com/mQmElqs3Tt
— Council of DC (@councilofdc) February 7, 2018
Still, Trump appears determined to hold the event — even if it could end up costing millions of dollars.
“President Trump is incredibly supportive of America’s great service members who risk their lives every day to keep our country safe,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. “He has asked the Department of Defense to explore a celebration at which all Americans can show their appreciation.”