Pentagon officials are following the President’s orders and planning for a parade in the style of the yearly Bastille Day military parade held in Paris, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.
Citing two unnamed officials briefed on the planning for the parade, the Post said Trump’s desire for a flashy show of strength came to a head in a Jan. 18 meeting with top generals at the Pentagon. In addition to the President, those in attendance included Defense Secretary James Mattis and Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Post reported.
One unnamed military official said Trump’s “marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France.”
NBC News’ Hans Nichols reported following the Post’s report that the Pentagon is “aware” of the request and exploring potential dates:
Pentagon confirms WaPo scoop ON THE RECORD. “We are aware of the request and are looking at possible dates,” Charlie Summers, a Pentagon spokesman, just told reporters.
— HansNichols (@HansNichols) February 6, 2018
The Post reported that Trump officials have discussed various dates for a parade — including Memorial Day and July 4 — but that, according to the unnamed military official, the Pentagon favors Veterans Day because it coincides with the 100th anniversary end of World War I and, in the Post’s words, “would be less associated with the president and politics.”
“This is being worked at the highest levels of the military,” the unnamed military official said.
An unnamed White House official familiar with the parade’s planning stressed to the Post that the event was in the “brainstorming” stages and added: “Right now there’s really no meat on the bones.”
Asked about the association of such parades with strongman rulers, that official said that the parade would be a “celebration of the men and women who give us freedom,” and added: “That’s the opposite of a totalitarian government.”
The official said, as paraphrased by the Post, that “a parade would have nothing to do with Trump’s feuds with [North Korean leader] Kim [Jong Un], but would be designed as a broad show of strength to send a warning to all of America’s adversaries.”
Trump told the Post before his inauguration that “we’re going to be showing our military,” including potentially in parades “marching down Pennsylvania Avenue” or “flying over New York City and Washington, D.C.”
HuffPost later reported, citing an unnamed source involved with inaugural planning, that a member of Trump’s transition team had floated the idea of having tanks and missile launchers as part of the parade — an idea the military reportedly shot down.
This post has been updated.