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Trump wants Bastille Day-style military parade, critics say he’s a Napoleon in making

US President Donald Trump has asked Pentagon to plan for a parade at ‘which all Americans can show their appreciation’.

world Updated: Feb 07, 2018 18:30 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
Donald Trump,Military parade,Bastille Day
French President Emmanuel Macron, US President Donald Trump and US first lady Melania Trump at the annual Bastille Day military parade in Paris on July 14, 2017. Trump has asked for a similar show in Washington, the White House has said. (AFP File photo)

US President Donald Trump kicked off a new storm Tuesday as he ordered the military to mount a parade similar in spectacle, if not grander, to the one he witnessed on the Bastille Day in Paris in 2017.

Trump, whose love of the military and the uniform do not comport with his five deferrals from draft, was so impressed with the parade that he couldn’t stop talking about it. He even told an amused French President Emmanuel Macron about it when they met next. And, he also let those around him and the military know.

“We are aware of the request and are in the process of determining specific details,” said a Pentagon spokesperson in a statement. “We will share more information throughout the planning process.”

“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 Sanders said in a statement shortly after the first report of the parade demand was published by The Washington Post.

Trump asked the department of defence to explore a celebration “at which all Americans can show their appreciation”, she said.

No decision has been taken on the date, the venue or the route but Trump is known to have mentioned July 4, America’s Independence Day, as an option. The parade path could be the same as was for the presidential inauguration down the Pennsylvania Avenue.

“It was one of the greatest parades I’ve ever seen,” Trump had said of the Paris show. “Because of what I witnessed, we may do something like that on July 4th in Washington, down Pennsylvania Avenue. I don’t know. We’re going to have to try and top it.”

The US doesn’t have anything like the Bastille Day or the Indian Republic Day parade or the annual extravaganzas held in Beijing and Moscow, and there hasn’t been much discussion about the need for one except the one triggered by The Post article.

The response was savage, mostly from known critics.

“I was stunned by it to be quite honest,” Congresswoman Jackie Speier told CNN. “I mean, we have a Napoleon in the making here, and I believe that we have so many issues around the world in terms of preparing for wars that are ongoing.”

A parade of military leader went up on cable news shows, saying it was an abysmal idea and said most American soldiers hate the idea of a parade, the rehearsals and everything that went into.

Others pointed to expenses — shipping military hardware and the fact that Washington’s asphalt roads might not withstand the weight of the 70-ton M1 Abram main battle tanks.

But the President found some support as well, mostly from his Republican corner. “Ds (Democrats) and most media will decry this, objecting to the costs,” Ari Fleischer, press secretary to President George W Bush, tweeted.

“When it happens, many Ds won’t like it because it’s militaristic. But most Americans will eat it up. They’ll love the pomp and will take pride in the show of force/honor of the troops.”

First Published: Feb 07, 2018 11:22 IST