Donald Trump is facing blowback after The Washington Post reported that the president gave “marching orders” to White House and Pentagon officials to put on a massive military parade in Washington, D.C.
Trump has spoken publicly and privately in the past about having a parade to showcase the might of the military, most notably after attending the annual Bastille Day military parade in Paris last July with French President Emmanuel Macron. According to the Post, aides said at the time that Trump was “dazzled” by the parade of uniformed French troops, military tanks, armored vehicles and fighter jets and said he wanted one at home.
“The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France,” a military official told the Post on the condition of anonymity. “This is being worked at the highest levels of the military.”
Nothing official has been set in motion yet but after the Post‘s report, many pundits, journalists and every day Americans took to Twitter to criticize the president’s idea as authoritarian and even abusive of the military.
Though a White House official told the Post that the president’s intention is to “highlight the service and sacrifice of the military and have a unifying moment for the country,” many accused Trump of thinking only of himself.
“Oh my god, he wants to be Kim Jong Un,” MSNBC commentator Joy Reid tweeted.
“Trump wants a Soviet-style military parade,” another Twitter user accused, “something weak leaders do to try to look strong.”
Sen. Tammy Duckworth, an outspoken Trump critic and a combat veteran who lost both legs in the Iraq War, released a statement calling the parade a waste of taxpayer dollars and the military’s “precious time and resources.”
“Our troops in danger overseas don’t need a show of bravado, they need steady leadership, long-term funding and resources,” she said.
Here’s what others are saying on Twitter.
Even conservative radio host and former congressman Joe Walsh, a vocal Trump supporter, had concerns.
“Trump isn’t a king,” Walsh tweeted. “My side needs to quit treating him like one. We don’t elect kings in this country, remember?”
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Meanwhile, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham was one of the few notables to throw his support behind Trump’s parade idea — with one condition.
“My hope is this parade will not focus on military hardware, but on military service, sacrifice, and saying ‘Thank You’ to those who protect our nation.”
Unfortunately for Graham, the Post says Trump’s vision for the proposed event includes “tanks rolling down the boulevards of Washington.”
After witnessing the spectacle of France’s Bastille Day parade, Trump reportedly turned to Macron and said: “We’re going to have to try to top it.”