Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters Wednesday that the Pentagon is preparing options for a potential military parade requested by President Donald Trump.
During a White House press briefing, when asked why the Pentagon would spend time and money fulfilling Trump’s request, Mattis said it is an example of Trump’s “respect” for the military.
“I think what my responsibility is, [is] to make certain I lay out the strategy and make the argument for the oversight of Congress to make a determination of fully funding us. As far as the parade goes again, the President’s respect, his fondness for the military, I think is reflected in him asking for these options,” Mattis said.
“We’re all aware in this country of the President’s affection and respect for the military,” Mattis said. “We’ve been putting together some options. We’ll send them up to the White House for decision.”
The Washington Post first reported that during a Jan. 18 meeting between President Trump and top military officials, Trump gave the “marching orders” to plan a parade.
“The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France,” a military official who spoke on the condition of anonymity told the Post. “This is being worked at the highest levels of the military.”
— CNN (@CNN) February 7, 2018
The Pentagon and the White House Press Secretary later confirmed the story to the Post.
“President Trump is incredibly supportive of America’s great service members who risk their lives every day to keep our country safe,” White House 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 Pentagon, too, confirmed the plan for a parade.
“We are aware of the request and are in the process of determining specific details. We will share more information throughout the planning process,” Defense Department Spokesman Thomas Crosson said in a statement, the Post reported.
The location is still undecided, although Trump is said to have suggested Pennsylvania Avenue. The date is also unclear, but Trump likely would want the parade tied in with a patriotic holiday.
Upon returning from a trip to France last year, Trump marveled at the magnitude of France’s Bastille Day Parade, and said he would like the U.S. to do something similar.
Trump had spoken with French President Emmanuel Macron and said the Bastille Day parade was “one of the greatest parades I’ve ever seen.”
“I think it was a tremendous thing for France and the spirit of France,” the President said. “People don’t know what great warriors they are in France, [and] when you see that, and you see all the victories, it was a tremendous thing.”
And because of the impact it had on him, Trump had said at the time: “We may do something like that on July 4th in Washington down Pennsylvania Avenue.”
“We’re going to have to try and top it [Bastille Day], but we had a lot of planes going over and we had a lot of military might,” he pointed out.
On Bastille Day, Trump said the parade was “really a beautiful thing to see,” adding that: “They had representatives from different wars, different uniforms. It was really so well done.”
Since the U.S. is spending billions of dollars on its military, Trump thinks it, too, should be showcased.
— ABC News (@ABC) September 18, 2017