Pentagon not certain that Trump's military parade will be in Washington

Pentagon not certain that Trump's military parade will be in Washington
© Greg Nash

President TrumpDonald John TrumpShocking summit with Putin caps off Trump’s turbulent Europe trip GOP lambasts Trump over performance in Helsinki Trump stuns the world at Putin summit MORE’s vision of a large-scale military parade might not happen in Washington, D.C., the Pentagon said Thursday.

“We don’t know that it will be in Washington,” Defense Department chief spokeswoman Dana White told reporters Thursday when asked what cities are being considered for the parade’s location. 

“There are options and we will explore those and the president will ultimately decide.”

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The White House confirmed this week that Trump requested the Pentagon begin planning a military parade last month.

Pentagon officials have since stressed that the parade is still in initial planning stages and have given few details as to the cost, make-up and location of such an event, other than noting that the Army will take the lead on planning.

“The president often looks for opportunities to honor and appreciate our service members. ... When we have those options we will provide that to the White House and the president will decide,” White said.

When asked whether there may be other options to honor the military in lieu of a parade, White replied “there are several options that are possible ... but the bottom line is we want to honor our service members. That is the intent.”

White did not answer questions on who would be paying for the parade or if there would be a cap on its expense.

Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisOvernight Defense: Fears rise over Trump-Putin summit | McCain presses Trump to hold Putin 'accountable' for hacking | Pentagon does damage control after NATO meet Mattis doesn't mention Russia by name at meeting with Balkan officials: report Trump references ‘legitimate media and fake-news media’ at meeting with NATO leader MORE on Wednesday also declined to directly answer when asked about the cost of a parade after he spent much of the briefing making the case for adequate, stable defense funding. 

“I think we’re all aware in this country of the president’s affection and respect for the military,” Mattis told reporters at the White House.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have blasted the idea as frivolous and a waste of Defense dollars at a time when the Pentagon is highlighting readiness issues. 

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac ThornberryWilliam (Mac) McClellan ThornberryOvernight Defense: Trump roils NATO on summit's first day | Trump, Merkel relationship sinks lower | House, Senate kick off defense bill talks | Senators symbolically rebuke Trump on national security tariffs Overnight Health Care: Pfizer delaying price hikes after Trump criticism | Dems focus on health care in Supreme Court fight | Feds won’t reunite all 102 detained children by deadline | VA nominee headed to Senate floor vote FDA approves freeze-dried blood plasma for troops in combat MORE (R-Texas) said he didn't “know that it’s necessary.”

The last large-scale military parade in Washington featuring Pentagon hardware and troops took place in 1991 to celebrate the end of the Gulf War. That display cost an estimated $8 million.