Washington – US President Donald Trump has asked for a large-scale military parade, the White House said Tuesday, an unconventional move that would showcase American muscle and underscore his role as commander-in-chief.
Trump – who has toyed with the idea of a parade in Washington since before being sworn in – has made the request to top officers, who are looking for a date.
“President Trump is incredibly supportive of America’s great service members who risk their lives every day to keep our country safe,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.
“He has asked the Department of Defense to explore a celebration at which all Americans can show their appreciation.”
The Pentagon confirmed it was “in the process of determining specific details.”
Trump’s new request, first reported by The Washington Post, immediately fueled comparisons to similar events in more autocratic countries.
“What an absurd waste of money! Trump acts more like dictator than president. Americans deserve better,” said Democratic Congressman Jim McGovern.
The idea has had a long gestation period. When Trump visited Paris last July for Bastille Day, he made no secret of his awe for the pomp and ceremony of the occasion.
Sitting on the Champs-Elysees, the American president marveled at the Republican Guard on horseback and jets flying overhead, and greeted President Emmanuel Macron, who arrived in an open-topped camouflaged military jeep.
Months after that meeting, Trump publicly remarked: “So we’re actually thinking about Fourth of July, Pennsylvania Avenue, having a really great parade to show our military strength.”
But even before becoming president, aides reported that Trump had considered a military parade to mark his inauguration. The idea was eventually scrapped.