Pentagon says Trump ordered Washington military parade

China Daily
Huang Panyue

WASHINGTON - US President Donald Trump has asked the Pentagon to plan a grand parade of the US armed forces in Washington this year to celebrate military strength, officials said on Tuesday.

The Washington Post, which was first to report the plan, said Trump wants an elaborate parade this year with soldiers marching and tanks rolling, but no date has been selected.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed the request on Tuesday. She said Trump wants the Pentagon to "explore a celebration" that will allow US citizens to show appreciation for the military.

Pentagon spokesman Charlie Summers said officials are aware of the request and are "looking at options".

Muscular military parades of the kind are not quintessentially American.

US military members commonly participate in parades on July 4 and other holidays to mark appreciation and remembrance of military veterans, but these typically do not include gaudy displays of military hardware.

In her brief comment on Trump's order to the Pentagon, Sanders did not elaborate on what sort of event he envisions.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has not commented publicly on the idea of a Washington military parade.

The Post report said a Jan 18 meeting between Trump, Mattis and top generals at the Pentagon marked a tipping point in Trump's push for a parade. It quoted an unidentified military official as saying: "The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France."

It was thus interpreted as a presidential order, the Post said, adding that the cost of shipping tanks and other military hardware to Washington could run in the millions of dollars.

The Post also reported that the Pentagon would prefer to hold such a parade on Veteran's Day in November, in part because it would coincide with the 100th anniversary of the victorious end of World War I.

John Kirby, a retired Navy rear admiral, reposted on Twitter on Tuesday an article he wrote for CNN's website last summer after Trump mentioned he had been dazzled by the Paris parade. Kirby said a big military parade in Washington is a bad idea.

"First of all, the United States doesn't need a parade down Pennsylvania or any other avenue to show our military strength," he wrote. "We do that every day in virtually every clime all over the world."

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