Trump blames D.C. officials for postponing his planned military parade

Geneva Stokes
August 17, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he had canceled a planned military parade for November due to high costs and would instead visit Paris to commemorate the end of World War I, a day after the Pentagon postponed the event to at least next year.

About $50m would cover Pentagon costs for aircraft, equipment, personnel and other support for the parade in November in Washington.

Officials said the plans had not yet been approved by Defence Secretary James Mattis.

The statement came following a CNBC report by Amanda Macias, citing a defense official with firsthand knowledge, which estimated the parade would cost $92 million - $80 million more than initially estimated.

Trump had called for the patriotic show of force past year after watching France's Bastille Day celebration in the center of Paris at the invitation of the French president.

Paris will hold its long-planned parade on the same day, while the event at the Maryland air force base is scheduled for a "different date", the president said.

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The parade will also include will also include helicopter, fighter jet and historical military plane flyovers. But by early Thursday afternoon, when news broke the cost would be almost eight times the original projection. That number was reported to be perhaps $92 million on Thursday. The Pentagon encouraged the use of wheeled vehicles only, and no tanks to "minimize damage to local infrastructure".

The parade's budget director had estimated costs of between $10m and $30m when the White House announced its request in February.

The Pentagon had said the military would march from the White House to the Capitol, and the parade would feature a "heavy air component at the end".

Several months later Trump praised the French parade, saying, "We're going to have to try and top it". In 1991, a massive parade was held to celebrate United States victory in the Gulf War, at a cost of $8 million.

There are now 28,500 USA troops stationed in South Korea, a legacy of the Korean War, which ended in 1953 in an armistice that left the two Koreas technically still at war.

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