Tanks parade past President Trump, first lady Melania Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron, during Bastille Day.
Carolyn Kaster / AP
President Trump has asked the Pentagon to plan a military parade to publicly showcase America's armed forces, the White House and Defense Department officials confirmed Tuesday, a spectacle not seen in the US in nearly three decades.
According to the Washington Post, which first reported the news, officials are in the beginning phase of planning a military parade this year, in what could turn out to be a costly endeavor prompted entirely by the president's request.
“We are aware of the request and are in the process of determining specific details,” a Defense Department spokesman told BuzzFeed News.
Trump has been outspoken in his desire to march the country's military might in the US capital. His captivation with the show of force apparently came after his visit to France, where he was a guest for the nation's Bastille Day celebrations, which included a grand display of France's military equipment.
Speaking to reporters alongside French President Emmanuel Macron in September, Trump called the French display, “one of the greatest parades I've ever seen.”
“It was two hours on the button and it was military might and, I think, a tremendous thing for France and for the spirit of France,” Trump said. “To a large extent because of what I witnessed we may do something like that on July 4 in Washington down Pennsylvania Avenue.”
Troops march over the Memorial Bridge in Washington, D.C.,on, June 8, 1991.
Doug Mills / ASSOCIATED PRESS
“We're going to have to try to top it,” Trump said.
According to the Post, the Pentagon began planning a parade after Trump met with high-ranking military officials on Jan. 18.
“The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France,” a military official told the Post.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders confirmed a request was made by the president.
“President Trump is incredibly supportive of America's great service members who risk their lives every day to keep our country safe,” she said. “He has asked the Department of Defense to explore a celebration at which all Americans can show their appreciation.”
The last time the US held a military parade was in 1991, under President George H. W. Bush, to commemorate the end of the Iraq war. The US is still mired in two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
According to the Post, no date has been selected, but officials are considering July 4, Memorial Day on May 28, and Veterans Day on Nov. 11.
The paper reported there are still considerations under review, such as where the parade would be held and whether civilian streets would be able to take on the weight of heavy military equipment.
The cost of shipping the expensive military equipment, and what agency would face the burden of cost, has still not been determined.
Officials are also concerned about the optics of such a display of force, considering increased tensions with North Korea and the common connection between military parades and political strongmen in other nations.