President Donald Trump isn’t going to do a military parade after all — for now.
Trump tweeted Friday morning that he was postponing the parade, which he’d announced in February, after learning that it would cost $92 million. Instead, he said he will attend a “big parade” at a military base located just outside of Washington, DC, called Joint Base Andrews and spend November 11 in Paris at France’s Veterans Day Parade.
It was initially unclear if Trump would follow through on his promise to cancel the parade if it couldn’t be done at a “reasonable cost.”
The local politicians who run Washington, D.C. (poorly) know a windfall when they see it. When asked to give us a price for holding a great celebratory military parade, they wanted a number so ridiculously high that I cancelled it. Never let someone hold you up! I will instead...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2018
....attend the big parade already scheduled at Andrews Air Force Base on a different date, & go to the Paris parade, celebrating the end of the War, on November 11th. Maybe we will do something next year in D.C. when the cost comes WAY DOWN. Now we can buy some more jet fighters!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2018
Trump decided in February 2018 that the US was going to hold a military parade akin to France’s Bastille Day, a celebration held at the Champs-Élysées in Paris to celebrate the storming of the Bastille fortress and a symbolic end to the French monarchy.
“It was one of the greatest parades I’ve ever seen,” Trump told reporters a few months after returning from France. “It was military might.”
In an attempt “to top it,” Trump was planning “a great representative parade ... up and down Pennsylvania Avenue” with “a lot of plane flyovers.”
The proposal led to some raised eyebrows. The last military parade in the US was held in 1991 to celebrate the end of the Gulf War. Trump’s parade was about more generally celebrating the American military and its collective arsenal — something members of Congress from both parties argued was unseemly at best and undemocratic at worst.
CNBC’s Amanda Macias first reported that the parade, originally slated for the day before the 2018 Veterans Day Parade, was going to cost a staggering $92 million — $80 million more Tara Copp at the Military Times said the Defense Department first expected.
Security measures were going to be the biggest expense, according to a parade budget obtained by WUSA’s Mike Valerio.
The Metropolitan Police Department estimated that nearly $13.5 million (of the $21.65 million DC would have to spend) would go toward funding a police presence at the parade. The MPD would be in charge of crowd control, crime prevention, and security details for the dignitaries who would attend.
The president blamed “the local politicians who run Washington, D.C. (poorly)” and “know a windfall when they see it” for the high price tag.
“Never let someone hold you up!” he said.
Trump has postponed the parade to 2019 — but there’s no sign that pushing it to a later date will make it any cheaper.