In response to Sen. Dick Durbin’s comment that such a parade would be a “fantastic waste of money,” White House legislative director Marc Short tells MSNBC: “I’m not sure honoring the military is a waste of money.”
Short says it’s too early to know how much the parade would cost.The last time a national military parade was held in the capital was June 1991 to celebrate the U.S. victory in the first Gulf War.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed President Donald Trump’s request for a parade on Tuesday.
She says Trump wants the Pentagon to “explore a celebration” that would allow Americans to show appreciation for the military.
A Pentagon spokesman, Charlie Summers, says Pentagon officials are aware of the request and are “looking at options.”
John Kirby, a retired Navy rear admiral and former spokesman for the State Department and the Pentagon, reposted on Twitter Tuesday night an article he wrote for CNN’s website last summer after Trump mentioned he had been dazzled by the Paris parade. Kirby said a big military parade in Washington is a bad idea.
“First of all, the United States doesn’t need a parade down Pennsylvania or any other avenue to show our military strength,” he wrote. “We do that every day in virtually every clime all over the world.”
It has long been conventional wisdom that the U.S. does not need to boast of its military strength because it already is recognized as the leader of the NATO alliance and a model of military professionalism that countries across the global seek to emulate.
Last September, at a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, Trump announced his idea of staging a grand parade of the armed forces in Washington on July 4.
Trump reminisced about watching France’s Bastille Day military parade when he visited Paris in July. He said the two-hour parade was a “tremendous thing for France and for the spirit of France,” and said he wanted one on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington that would be grander than the one he saw in Paris.
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