Trump wants to show off military might in Washington

Trump wants to show off military might in Washington
Donald Trump has ordered the Pentagon to organise a miliary parade in Washington, an unusual and costly show of power which has already drawn strong criticism.
3 min read
07 February, 2018
Trump has been accused of mirroring dictatorships with his demand for a miltiary parade [Getty]
US President Donald Trump wants to see tanks rolling and soldiers marching down the streets of Washington in a grandiose display of military might which Pentagon and White House officials say is becoming closer to reality.

Trump has previously spoken of his intention for a massive show of US strength in a ground military parade and a 18 January meeting has reportedly set the wheels in motion, the Washington Post said on Wednesday.

"The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France," said a military official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the planning discussions are supposed to remain confidential. "This is being worked at the highest levels of the military."

The Post estimated the bill for such a parade - which will involve shipping Abrams tanks and high-tech hardware to Washington - could run into the millions.

After it first published this story, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed plans were underway, stating: "President Trump is incredibly supportive of America's great service members who risk their lives every day to keep our country safe."

"He has asked the department of defense to explore a celebration at which all Americans can show their appreciation."

The Pentagon also confirmed the plans. "We are aware of the request and are in the process of determining specific details. We will share more information throughout the planning process," Defense Department Spokesman Thomas Crosson, said in a statement.

Trump's desire for an elaborate demonstration of US' armed forces, first sparked following his demand for military vehicles at his 2017 inaugration, was reportedly reignited after his trip to Paris last year, where France flexed its military muscle during Bastille Day celebrations.

Two months later, Trump told reporters on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York: "It was one of the greatest parades I've ever seen."

"It was two hours on the button, and it was military might, and I think a tremendous thing for France and for the spirit of France."

Seated next to French President Emmanuel Macron, Trump added: "We're going to have to try to top it."

The idea of a costly taxpayer-funded military parade while millions of dollars have been cut from programmes for veterans - as well as increasing tensions over immigration, American-Muslim relations and Trump's America First rhetoric - has drawn strong criticism.

Critics also say a military parade would only serve to fuel the president's ego.

Others have linked military parades to dictatorships, with such displays of power more commonly seen in Red Square or North Korea. 

A date has not been set for the parade, although officials said Trump would like to tie the parade to a patriotic holiday, the Post reported.