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Trump cancels military parade as costs tripled to near $100 million

Members of the U.S. Air Force band march in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade March 17, 2013 in Washington, D.C. The theme of this year’s parade was “Celebrating Service to the Stars and Stripes.” (Airman 1st Class Erin O’Shea/U.S. Air Force)
August 17, 2018

Just hours after a report revealed an update on President Trump’s military parade, another report surfaced to announce that the parade won’t happen this year.

And on Friday morning, President Trump confirmed that he had canceled his military parade due to a “ridiculously high” cost estimate from “politicians who run D.C.”

“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… 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,” Trump said.

“Maybe we will do something next year in D.C. when the cost comes WAY DOWN. Now we can buy some more jet fighters,” he added.

Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Jamie Davis said that President Trump’s military parade will be delayed until 2019, the Associated Press reported late Thursday night.

Davis said the White House and the Pentagon “have now agreed to explore opportunities in 2019,” but did not provide a reason for the sudden change. The parade was originally slated to take place on Nov. 10, the day before Veterans Day.

“The Department of Defense and White House have been planning a parade to honor America’s military veterans and commemorate the centennial of World War I,” the Pentagon statement said, according to Fox News. “We originally targeted Nov. 10, 2018 for this event but have now agreed to explore opportunities in 2019.”

The announcement came just hours after the AP reported that the parade exceeded all prior cost estimates and rose to an estimated $92 million – three times higher than some previous estimates.

A U.S. official anonymously told the AP that approximately $50 million of the budget would cover Pentagon’s costs for “aircraft, equipment, personnel and other support.” Most of the remaining $42 million was said to cover security costs, and the costs to other agencies.

The official noted that the parade planning process was still in the early stages, and the final cost had not been finalized. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had not yet approved the plans.

The parade was scheduled to be held Nov. 10, one day ahead of Veteran’s Day and on the 100th anniversary of the conclusion of World War I.

Before the parade’s postponement was announced, Davis said Thursday that parade planning “continues and final details are still being developed. Any cost estimates are pre-decisional. We will announce more information when it is available.”

The cost of the parade has been an issue over which President Trump has received much criticism. Estimates released by the President’s budget director assessed the parade cost at $10 to $30 million.

President Trump developed the idea for the parade after attending a July 2017 parade in France commemorating Bastille Day. The parade showed off France’s military might, including tanks and fighter jets. President Trump was said to have watched the parade with great enthusiasm, and later said: “We’re going to have to try and top it.”

He directed the Pentagon to cancel plans for a major military exercise with South Korea before the June summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, saving an estimated $14 million to counter the cost of the parade.

The parade was expected to include “100 vehicles, 50 aircraft and 100 horses,” thousands of military personnel and civilians, modern and vintage aircraft, and many more features to honor U.S. military personnel, veterans, and families.