Donald Trump orders Pentagon to plan military parade to rival pomp and ceremony of France’s Bastille Day

Home / Donald Trump orders Pentagon to plan military parade to rival pomp and ceremony of France’s Bastille Day

Donald Trump, the US president, has asked the Pentagon to organise a large-scale military parade in Washington, a plan criticised as evidence of creeping authoritarianism.

Democrats questioned the symbolism of a large-scale military parade, suggesting the events were a relic of a bygone era, as well as the potential cost.

Jim McGovern, a Democratic congressman, called the plans an "absurd waste of money," adding, "Trump acts more like dictator than president. Americans deserve better."

Donald Trump was in awe of France's Bastille Day military paradeCredit:

Several retired military personnel have also criticised the plan, saying the money would be better spent improving conditions for veterans or raising military wages.

Retired general Paul Eaton, senior adviser to VoteVets, a political action committee for military veterans, said: “Donald Trump has continually shown himself to have authoritarian tendencies, and this is just another worrisome example.”

Concerns have also been raised about the practical implications of using military hardware designed for war zones on the capital’s streets.

Mr Trump – who has long toyed with the idea of a parade that would showcase American muscle and underscore his role as commander-in-chief – made the request to top Pentagon officers.

Donald Trump admires a military parade in Paris last yearCredit:

The White House has confirmed the plans, with press secretary Sarah Sanders saying: "President Trump is incredibly supportive of America’s great service members who risk their lives every day to keep our country safe."

Ms Sanders said the event would be "a celebration at which all Americans can show their appreciation" for the armed forces.

Pentagon officials are thought to want the event to fall on Veterans’ Day, November 11, which also marks 100 years since the end of the First World War, to avoid overly politicising the occasion.

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US presidents have largely avoided military displays except to mark the end of major conflicts, with the last one in 1991 when President George HW Bush celebrated victory in the Gulf War.

A submarine missile is paraded during a military parade in PyongyangCredit:

But Mr Trump is thought to have expressed a desire for a parade to top military chiefs earlier this year, after being impressed by a French Bastille Day parade he attended in the summer.

Sitting on the Champs-Elysees, he marvelled at the Republican Guard on horseback and jets flying overhead, and greeted President Emmanuel Macron, who arrived in an open-topped camouflaged military jeep.

"It was one of the greatest parades I’ve ever seen," he later said. "We’re going to have to try and top it."


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