The Latest: Mattis says military parade a sign of respect
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Trump’s request to the Pentagon for a military parade (all times local):
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says President Donald Trump’s desire for a massive military parade reflects his respect and fondness for the U.S. military.
Mattis is briefing reporters at the White House. He says “we all know” Trump’s “affection for the military.”
Mattis says the Pentagon has been putting together options for a parade. He’s not giving details about those options. But he says they’ll be sent to the White House for a decision.
Washington government officials are reacting with surprise and sarcasm to reports that President Donald Trump wants to hold a massive military parade.
The Washington City Council’s official Twitter account openly trolled the Commander in Chief Wednesday morning by tweeting, “The DC government will open on time today. DC Public Schools will open on time today. Sadly, the Giant Tank Parade is cancelled. Permanently.”
Council Member Charles Allen took to Twitter as well with a direct shot at Trump, writing, “Military parade down the streets of DC to feed an insecure man’s fragile ego? That’d be a big no.”
Eleanor Holmes Norton, Washington’s non-voting delegate in the House of Representatives, said on Twitter that the parade would, “shut down the nation’s capital and waste taxpayer dollars just to feed Trump’s ego.”
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham says he supports President Donald Trump’s plan for a military parade in Washington — as long as it’s not a “cheesy” show of military might.
Graham said on Twitter Wednesday that any parade should focus on “sacrifice, and saying ‘Thank You’ to those who protect our nation.”
He also told CNN that a parade risks being “kind of cheesy and a sign of weakness” if it’s just about showing off military muscle.
Military parades of the kind that are common in authoritarian countries like China and North Korea are not quintessentially American. The U.S. traditionally has not embraced showy displays of raw military power, such as North Korea’s parading of ballistic missiles as a claim of international prestige and influence.
The White House is pushing ahead with the idea of throwing a grand parade to honor U.S. armed forces, brushing aside Democratic criticism.
In response to Sen. Dick Durbin’s comment that such a parade would be a “fantastic waste of money,” White House legislative director Marc Short tells MSNBC: “I’m not sure honoring the military is a waste of money.”
Short says it’s too early to know how much the parade would cost.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed Trump’s request for a parade on Tuesday. She says Trump wants the Pentagon to “explore a celebration” that would allow Americans to show appreciation for the military.
A Pentagon spokesman, Charlie Summers, says Pentagon officials are aware of the request and are “looking at options.”