Trump cancels military parade over price tag, says 'maybe next year'

Hannah Rogers
August 17, 2018

A military parade ordered by US President Donald Trump for later this year has been postponed until at least 2019, a defence official announced Thursday, after it was revealed that costs for the extravagant event had tripled to US$92 million.

President Trump was impressed with a Bastille Day parade when he visited France in 2017, inspiring him to request a military review for Washington, D.C. The date for that parade is now uncertain.

But a USA official told AFP earlier Thursday the planning estimate had now gone as high as $92 million, though no final figure has been reached.

He wrote that "the local politicians who run Washington, D.C".

A Pentagon spokesman said in an email to CNBC that the Defense Department expects to make an announcement soon, but he would not comment further.

In his tweets, Trump said he would go a parade in Paris on November 11 and also attend a "big parade" already scheduled at Joint Base Andrews this fall.

It's unclear if French President Emmanuel Macron has even invited Mr. Trump to Paris for the event.

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Trump told The Washington Post in an interview days before in inauguration, "That military may be flying over New York City and Washington, D.C., for parades".

Trump had requested a parade to honor USA military veterans and commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the first world war, after marveling at the Bastille Day military parade he attended in Paris a year ago.

The president said the drills were provocative and that cancelling them would save "a tremendous amount of money".

Originally, the full cost was estimated at $12 million. The Pentagon encouraged the use of wheeled vehicles only, and no tanks to "minimize damage to local infrastructure".

The District of Columbia Council, Washington's legislative body, was critical of the plan when it was announced, voicing displeasure on Twitter. Military parades are customarily reserved for winning wars, and the Pentagon is obviously reluctant to be conscripted into a partisan exercise.

USA media pointed out that Donald Trump cancelled planned military exercises with South Korea in June after his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on the grounds it would "save a fortune".

"We're going to have to try and top it", he said.

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