Trump Says He Wants July 4 Military Parade in Washington

Updated on
  • President hopes to ‘top’ Bastille Day parade he attended
  • He’s discussed the idea with the White House chief of staff

U.S. First Lady Melania Trump, U.S. President Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron, and French First Lady Brigitte Macron watch the annual Bastille Day military parade in Paris, on July 14, 2017.

Source: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

President Donald Trump mused Monday about holding a French-style military parade in Washington during the U.S. July Fourth celebration.

Trump raised the idea at the start of a meeting in New York with French President Emmanuel Macron, as he gushed to Macron about the Bastille Day military parade in Paris that Trump attended in July as the French president’s guest.

“It was a tremendous day, and to a large extent because of what I witnessed, we may do something like that on July 4th in Washington down Pennsylvania Avenue,” Trump said. “We’re going to have to try to top it, but we have a lot of planes going over and a lot of military might, and it was really a beautiful thing to see, and representatives from different wars and different uniforms.”

Macron rode in the Bastille Day parade standing upright in an open-top military command car, surrounded by hundreds of military guards on horseback. The two-hour spectacle included tanks rolling down the Champs Elysees and helicopters and fighter jets flying overhead.

Trump said he wanted the U.S. to have “a really great parade to show our military strength.”

He added that one of his “early calls” after returning to Washington from the Bastille Day celebration was to begin planning for a similar U.S. military parade. Trump already has discussed the idea with White House chief of staff John Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general, the president said.

“We’ll see if we can do it this year, but we certainly will be beginning to do that,” he said.

Trump had been thinking about large-scale military parades even before his Bastille Day visit to France, mentioning the idea in an interview published in the Washington Post in January before his inauguration.

“Being a great president has to do with a lot of things, but one of them is being a great cheerleader for the country,” Trump told the Washington Post. “And we’re going to show the people as we build up our military, we’re going to display our military.

“That military may come marching down Pennsylvania Avenue. That military may be flying over New York City and Washington, D.C., for parades. I mean, we’re going to be showing our military,” he added.

The centerpieces of the Fourth of July celebration in Washington typically are a fireworks display and a concert on the National Mall. Many parades in Washington include military elements, though they are usually limited to companies of soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines marching on foot or riding on horseback.

While military parades are a staple in countries such as France, Russia, China and India, they are rarer in the U.S. The last major military parade in Washington was in 1991 to mark the end of the first Persian Gulf War and included troops, tanks and other armored vehicles. General Norman Schwarzkopf, who commanded U.S. forces in the war, led the parade.

— With assistance by Gregory Viscusi

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