DC mayor taunts Trump after cancellation of military parade

Erika Holt
August 18, 2018

The Pentagon, which offered the price estimate, postponed the parade on Thursday to an undetermined date in 2019.

Officials said the parade plans had not yet been approved by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

Earlier in the day, CNBC and ABC News, citing unnamed officials, reported that the cost estimate of the parade - which was estimated in July to cost approximately $12 million - had swelled to $92 million. The remainder would cover costs by other government agencies and largely involve security costs.

About an hour after the president's tweet, D.C. Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser delivered her own caustic response on Twitter, indicating the desired parade would have cost $21.6 million to organize in the nation's capital.

Earlier this year, a senior official said the parade would probably cost between $10 million and $30 million.

In his tweets, Trump said he would go to a parade in Paris to mark Armistice Day on November 11 and also attend a "big parade" already scheduled at Joint Base Andrews this fall.

President Donald Trump said in February that a military parade in Washington would be "great for the spirit of the country", but that it would need to come at a "reasonable cost".

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Later that day, a Pentagon spokesman said the military and the White House "have now agreed to explore opportunities in 2019".

The president added: "Now we can buy some more jet fighters!" "Whoever told you that is probably smoking something that is legal in my state, but not in most states", he told reporters.

A second official said the costs covered by the military were about $50 million.

The parade's cost has become a politically charged issue, particularly after the Pentagon canceled a major military exercise planned for August with South Korea, in the wake of Trump's summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The city's estimates, which were finalized Thursday, included $13.5 million for police, $3.6 million for fire and paramedics, $2.3 million for transportation services (including traffic control and work on Pennsylvania Avenue before and after the event) and a number of lesser expenses. Officials told CNN that Mattis had not yet been briefed on the latest cost estimates when he made his comments, noting that the costs could still change as no final decisions about what units, equipment and personnel would take part.

The cost of a single fighter jet can vary dramatically, but some models could cost about the same as the $92 million estimate. In the 1991 parade, the military put rubber covers on the tank treads but there were still reports of tread marks and damage done to city streets. "The American Legion appreciates that our President wants to show in a dramatic fashion our nation's support for our troops", National Commander Denise Rohan said.

The President said he was inspired by the Bastille Day parade in France, which he described as "quite something" after attending in 2017. "However, until such time as we can celebrate victory in the War on Terrorism and bring our military home, we think the parade money would be better spent fully funding the Department of Veteran Affairs and giving our troops and their families the best care possible".

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