President Trump’s recent call for a grand military parade was met with some raised eyebrows. Many felt like an overt celebration of the United States’ military prowess would be too evocative of the displays favored by dictators and despots. Now, critics are pointing at the price-tag. Trump’s proposed parade would be expensive. Would it be worth it?
“In response to Trump’s request, the Department of Defense has worked up five options, with price tags ranging from $3 million to as much as $50 million,” NPR writes.
The White House is trying to back away from the high end of those estimates. White House budget director Mick Mulvaney explained to the House Budget Committee Wednesday that costs would be between $10 million and $30 million “depending on the size of the parade, the scope of it, the length of it… those kinds of things.”
“Obviously an hour parade is different than a five-hour parade in terms of the cost and the equipment and those types of things,” Mulvaney said.
President Trump seems to have been moved by a military parade he saw in Paris, France. “We had a lot of planes going over and we had a lot of military might, and it was really a beautiful thing to see,” Trump said in September, describing the French Bastille Day parade he’d seen. “They had representatives from different wars and different uniforms. It was really so well done.”
Part of what Trump has reportedly envisioned is soldiers wearing period uniforms to mark the anniversary of the end of World War I.
“The last military parade through the streets of Washington, D.C., was in 1991,” NPR notes, “to celebrate victory in Operation Desert Storm. There also were parades at the conclusion of the Civil War, World War I and World War II. There isn’t a tradition of military parades in the U.S. outside of war victories and Cold War-era presidential inaugurations. And 16 years into the war in Afghanistan, there is no clear path to victory.”
Trump’s plan isn’t being accepted well by members of either party. “I think confidence is silent and insecurity is loud,” said Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.). “America is the most powerful country in all of human history; you don’t need to show it off.”
Last week, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders tried to defend the President’s vision.
“President Trump is incredibly supportive of America’s great service members who risk their lives every day to keep our country safe,” she said. “He has asked the Department of Defense to explore a celebration at which all Americans can show their appreciation.”