Trump Military Parade Delayed 08/17 06:17
The Defense Department says the Veterans Day military parade ordered up by
President Donald Trump won't happen in 2018.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Defense Department says the Veterans Day military
parade ordered up by President Donald Trump won't happen in 2018.
Col. Rob Manning, a Pentagon spokesman, said Thursday that the military and
the White House "have now agreed to explore opportunities in 2019."
The announcement came several hours after The Associated Press reported that
the parade would cost about $92 million, according to U.S. officials citing
preliminary estimates more than three times the price first suggested by the
According to the officials, roughly $50 million would cover Pentagon costs
for aircraft, equipment, personnel and other support for the November parade in
Washington. The remainder would be borne by other agencies and largely involve
security costs. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss early
planning estimates that have not yet been finalized or released publicly.
Officials said the parade plans had not yet been approved by Defense
Secretary Jim Mattis.
Mattis himself said late Thursday that he had seen no such estimate and
questioned the media reports.
The Pentagon chief told reporters traveling with him to Bogota, Colombia,
that whoever leaked the number to the press was "probably smoking something
that is legal in my state but not in most" --- a reference to his home state of
Washington, where marijuana use is legal.
He added: "I'm not dignifying that number ($92 million) with a reply. I
would discount that, and anybody who said (that number), I'll almost guarantee
you one thing: They probably said, 'I need to stay anonymous.' No kidding,
because you look like an idiot. And No. 2, whoever wrote it needs to get better
sources. I'll just leave it at that."
The parade's cost has become a politically charged issue, particularly after
the Pentagon canceled a major military exercise planned for August with South
Korea, in the wake of Trump's summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Trump said the drills were provocative and that dumping them would save the
U.S. "a tremendous amount of money." The Pentagon later said the Korea drills
would have cost $14 million.
Lt. Col. Jamie Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said earlier Thursday that
Defense Department planning for the parade "continues and final details are
still being developed. Any cost estimates are pre-decisional."
The parade was expected to include troops from all five armed services ---
the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard --- as well as units in
period uniforms representing earlier times in the nation's history. It also was
expected to involve a number of military aircraft flyovers.
A Pentagon planning memo released in March said the parade would feature a
"heavy air component," likely including older, vintage aircraft. It also said
there would be "wheeled vehicles only, no tanks --- consideration must be given
to minimize damage to local infrastructure." Big, heavy tanks could tear up
streets in the District of Columbia.
The memo from Mattis' office provided initial planning guidance to the
chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. His staff is planning the parade along a
route from the White House to the Capitol and would integrate it with the
city's annual veterans' parade. U.S. Northern Command, which oversees U.S.
troops in North America, is responsible for the actual execution of the parade.
Earlier this year, the White House budget director told Congress that the
cost to taxpayers could be $10 million to $30 million. Those estimates were
likely based on the cost of previous military parades, such as the one in the
nation's capital in 1991 celebrating the end of the first Gulf War, and
factored in some additional increase for inflation.
One veterans group weighed in Thursday against the parade. "The American
Legion appreciates that our President wants to show in a dramatic fashion our
nation's support for our troops," National Commander Denise Rohan said.
"However, until such time as we can celebrate victory in the War on Terrorism
and bring our military home, we think the parade money would be better spent
fully funding the Department of Veteran Affairs and giving our troops and their
families the best care possible."
Trump decided he wanted a military parade in Washington after he attended
France's Bastille Day celebration in the center of Paris last year. As the
invited guest of French President Emmanuel Macron, Trump watched
enthusiastically from a reviewing stand as the French military showcased its
tanks and fighter jets, including many U.S.-made planes, along the famed
Several months later Trump praised the French parade, saying, "We're going
to have to try and top it."