WASHINGTON (AP) Developments on Wednesday, Feb. 7, about President Trump’s request to the Pentagon for a military parade (all times Eastern Standard Time).
- 1:44 p.m.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said President Donald Trump’s desire for a massive military parade reflects his respect and fondness for the U.S. military.
Mattis briefed reporters at the White House. He said “we all know” Trump’s “affection for the military.”
Mattis said Pentagon officials began putting together options for a parade. He did not give details about those options. But he said they’ll be sent to the White House for a decision.
- 1:39 p.m.
Washington government officials reacted with surprise and sarcasm to reports that the president wanted to hold a massive military parade.
The Washington City Council’s official Twitter account openly trolled the Commander in Chief by tweeting, “The DC government will open on time today. DC Public Schools will open on time today. Sadly, the Giant Tank Parade is cancelled. Permanently.”
Council Member Charles Allen took to Twitter as well with a direct shot at Trump, tweeting, “Military parade down the streets of DC to feed an insecure man’s fragile ego? That’d be a big no.”
Eleanor Holmes Norton, Washington’s non-voting delegate in the House of Representatives, said on Twitter the parade would, “shut down the nation’s capital and waste taxpayer dollars just to feed Trump’s ego.”
- 1:15 p.m.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said he supported Trump’s plan for a military parade in Washington — as long as it’s not a “cheesy” show of military might.
Graham tweeted any parade should focus on “sacrifice, and saying ‘Thank You’ to those who protect our nation.”
He also told CNN a parade risks being “kind of cheesy and a sign of weakness” if it’s just about showing off military muscle.
Military parades of the kind that are common in authoritarian countries like China and North Korea are not quintessentially American. The U.S. traditionally has not embraced showy displays of raw military power, such as North Korea’s parading of ballistic missiles as a claim of international prestige and influence.
- 11:14 a.m.
The Trump pushed ahead with the idea of throwing a grand parade to honor U.S. armed forces, brushing aside Democratic criticism.
In response to the comment from Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., that such a parade would be a “fantastic waste of money,” presidential legislative director Marc Short told MSNBC, “I’m not sure honoring the military is a waste of money.”
Short said it was too early to know how much the parade would cost.
Presidential spokeswoman Sarah Sanders confirmed Trump’s request for a parade. She said Trump wanted Pentagon officials to “explore a celebration” that would allow Americans to show appreciation for the military.
A Pentagon spokesman, Charlie Summers, said Pentagon officials were aware of the request and were “looking at options.”