On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that President Donald Trump has been pushing the Pentagon to throw a military parade down Pennsylvania Avenue, which could include some of the most powerful components of the American war machine occupying the space between Congress and the White House — the two civilian halls of power. The story was confirmed by both the White House and Pentagon, both of whom said that plans were in the works.
Trump's proposed military show of force is questionable, to say the least. In the age of government austerity — tax cuts and talks of entitlement cuts — the president is proposing that taxpayers fit the bill so that he can create a monument to himself. VoteVets, a group devoted to veterans needs, called the request "not normal."
In a press release, VoteVets said that the parade was a "worrisome example" because Trump "has continuously shown himself to have authoritarian tendencies," adding:
For someone who just declared that it was "treasonous" to not applaud him, and for someone who has, in the past, admired the tactics of everyone from Saddam Hussein to Vladimir Putin, it is clear that a military parade isn't about saluting the military — it is about making a display of the military saluting him.
The military is not Donald Trump's to use and abuse in this way. Our military is the best in the world — they are not to be reduced to stagecraft to prop up Donald Trump's image. Any commander in chief who respects the traditions of the military would understand that.
Unfortunately, we do not have a commander in chief right now, as much as we have a wannabe banana republic strongman.
The parade request was met with disapproval by House Democrats as well. "We have a Napoleon in the making here," Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., told CNN. "It's really a waste of money, and I think everybody should be offended by his need to always be showing."
And even "Fox & Friends," President Trump's favorite show, couldn't unanimously get behind the proposal. "That seems like a waste of money," co-host Brian Kilmeade said.
Though the Post credited the sudden "I want it!" to the Bastille Day celebrations he witnessed in France, the desire for a military parade isn't new. Trump wanted the military to be front-and-center in his inauguration, telling The Washington Post that he wanted military "marching down Pennsylvania Avenue" and "flying over New York City and Washington, D.C."