President Donald Trump was so impressed by the famous Bastille Day celebrations during his visit to France, he reportedly ordered the Pentagon to plan a grand military parade that would see tanks, missile launchers and hundreds of uniformed soldiers marching down the streets of Washington, D.C.
As The Washington Post reported, the commander-in-chief was so enthralled by the French troops marching down Avenue des Champs-Elysees and fighter jets flying over the Arc de Triomphe that he demanded a similar display during a meeting with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Joint Chiefs Of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford.
What’s even more interesting is that Trump’s ostensibly autocratic demand request is being taken seriously.
“The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France,” a military official told the publication. “This is being worked at the highest levels of the military.”
While it’s ironic that Trump — a man who dodged the draft during the Vietnam War by filing five deferments — wants a military parade to showcase the might of U.S. military, it is also important to note a certain kind of rulers are historically known for giving such commands: dictators. For instance, North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un is known for his penchant for extravagant parades to show off his country’s military prowess.
Moreover, Trump’s request for a parade has also sparked concerns how the display of military hardware could stimulate visions of a despotic regime — rather than patriotism.
After The Washington Post published the report, the White House also confirmed Trump did ask for a grand military parade — to show support for soldiers, of course.
“President Trump is incredibly supportive of America’s great service members who risk their lives every day to keep our country safe,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “He has asked the Department of Defense to explore a celebration at which all Americans can show their appreciation.”
The thing is, parades like the one the president is demanding do not come cheap.
At a time when the Department of Defense is complaining about low funds for military training, the cost of transporting Abrams tanks, missile launchers and other high-tech weaponry to Washington, D.C. would cost millions.
Meanwhile, Pentagon spokesman Charlie Summers told NBC News, "We are aware of the request and are looking at possible dates,” describing the planning process as being in its “infancy.”
Social media users had a lot to say about Trump’s latest demand:
Trump this week:— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) February 7, 2018
— says political opponents who don’t clap for him are committing treason
— orders military parade
— via lawyers, argues he doesn’t have to speak to prosecutors
Trump WON’T spend money on:— Scott Dworkin (@funder) February 7, 2018
-The American people
-Roads, bridges & tunnels
Trump WILL spend money on:
-Grand military parade
-A helicopter pad
-Paying off pornstars
A reminder that the Trump White House refused to release WH visitor logs under the premise it saves $70K by 2020.— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) February 7, 2018
Now he wants to spend millions to bring in tanks and hardware for a military parade... like in France.
Obama wasn't a King.— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) February 7, 2018
Trump isn't a King either. My side needs to quit treating him like one.
We don't elect Kings in this country, remember?
No military parade.
Military parade probabilities:— Max Fisher (@Max_Fisher) February 7, 2018
— 75% DoD delays indefinitely
— 60% 8-figure price tag
— 30% 8-figures in road damage
— 70% dems/protesters accused of treason for not applauding trump
— 15% coopted by alt-right
— 100% becomes a polarizing event that deepens social divides
I’m pretty sure we have to start marching in the streets. Forget about trump wanting a military parade. What about the people around him who are contemplating a military parade? Where is the decency? What is happening?— Chelsea Handler (@chelseahandler) February 7, 2018
it wont happen, but i wish the military would say to trump "nah. you're commander-in-chief, and we do what you order us to do within the law, but this military parade shit? fuck that. you're not stalin and this isn't russia."— Oliver Willis (@owillis) February 7, 2018
Unsurprisingly, a number of online users also pointed out how dictators are known for their fondness for military parades.
trump WANTS HUGE MILITARY PARADE OF TANKS & ARMS, DOWN PENNSYLVANIA AVE. GUESS HE DOESNT CARE IF THEY RIP UP ASPHALT IN FRONT OF WHITE HOUSE&, COST TAXPAYERS HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS/BILLION??2BRING TANKS FROM ALL OVER????.trump LET PUTIN ELECT HIM,NOW trump CAN BE A DICTATOR 2????— Cher (@cher) February 7, 2018
WaPo: Trump wants a massive military parade in DC later this year “The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France,” a military official said.— Touré (@Toure) February 7, 2018
This is not an American presidency. It's an episode of Dictator*ish.
I just got a sickening image of all the white supremacist in full Nazis gear, lined up watching Trump's Dictator Day Military Parade!!!— Robert (@ColSand42) February 7, 2018
Trump now wants a massive military parade like Kim Jung Un that will cost us millions in tax dollars so he can move closer to being a dictator. I hope the libertarian wing of GOP will oppose tanks rolling down US streets https://t.co/aS6DITUTma— (((DeanObeidallah))) (@DeanObeidallah) February 6, 2018
First @realDonaldTrump says anyone who doesn't clap at his speech is treasonous & now demands our men and women in uniform give him a military parade.— Jim McGovern (@RepMcGovern) February 7, 2018
What an absurd waste of money! Trump acts more like dictator than president. Americans deserve better.https://t.co/BlBTW8XkEh
This is not just a sign of Trump's dreams of becoming a dictator, but also a sign of the US being a declining power that has lost confidence in itself.— Trita Parsi (@tparsi) February 7, 2018
Pentagon planning grand military parade for Trump https://t.co/qteZ2zfoRo
Who else do we know that likes grand "military parades?"— zak ali (@_zakali) February 6, 2018
Oh yeah, every dictator that has ever lived or is living https://t.co/UrZNbIx7r2
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters, Ralph Orlowski