Washington D.C., USA: U.S. President Donald Trump will have to wait longer for his military parade, after the Pentagon said Thursday it had been pushed back until at least 2019.
Trump had asked the Department of Defense to organize a military parade for the US after he was reportedly dazzled by last year’s Bastille Day parade in Paris.
No date had been named for the planned US spectacle, however reports named Veteran’s Day, November 11, as an option.
“The Department of Defense and White House have been planning a parade to honor America’s military veterans and commemorate the centennial of World War I,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
The Pentagon said it had “originally targeted November 10, 2018 for this event but have now agreed to explore opportunities in 2019.”
The postponement came after Department of Defense officials said earlier Thursday the parade cost could blow out to 92 million dollars – 80 million dollars more than previously estimated.
The plan to hold a parade has come under fire from both Democrats and Republicans, some of whom argue it could have authoritarian or jingoistic overtones. Lawmakers have also been critical of the enormous cost.
The last US military parade in Washington was in 1991 after the Gulf War.
The American Legion said in a statement Thursday that the organization appreciates Trump’s desire to “show in a dramatic fashion our nation’s support for our troops.” But the veterans group believes that with troops still deployed overseas in the fight against terrorism, “until such time as we can celebrate victory in the War on Terrorism and bring our military home, we think the parade money would be better spent fully funding the Department of Veteran Affairs and giving our troops and their families the best care”
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The Pentagon in an “initial guidance” memo addressed to the chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, Thursday, says the military parade which President Trump has ordered for Veterans Day, will not include tanks, to minimize damage to the city streets. The memo says the parade will begin at the White House and proceed to the U.S. Capitol, with a “heavy air component at the end.” It notes that Trump will be surrounded by military heroes in the reviewing area at the Capitol.
The Joint Staff will be in charge of planning the event in a way that integrates the parade into Washington’s planned Veterans Day festivities on Nov. 11, according to the report. Northern Command will be charged with executing the event, the memo said.
It comes after Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, gave the president’s instructions for the parade to the Pentagon last month.
Trump requested the grand military demonstration, which officials have estimated could cost between $10 million and $30 million, after witnessing the Bastille Day parade in France last summer. Many lawmakers from Trump’s own party have suggested the funds could be better spent on military supplies or veterans services.