Administration

Trump calls for military parade to take place on Veterans Day: report

President Trump has reportedly directed the Pentagon to plan his proposed military parade to travel from the White House to the Capitol on Nov. 11, Veterans Day. 

National security adviser H.R. McMaster gave the president's instructions in an unclassified memo to the Department of Defense, according to a senior administration official who summarized the memo to Politico.

In the memo, dated Tuesday, McMaster conveys Trump's desire for Defense Secretary James Mattis to brief Trump on "concepts of operation" for the parade.

The president has repeatedly voiced support for grand military demonstration, particularly since visiting Paris for last year's Bastille Day celebrations, which included a military parade down the Champs-Élysées. 

A number of logistical hurdles have emerged during the early planning process for such an event. Pentagon officials have reportedly been concerned about cost, the transportation of troops and materiel and if it is feasible to have tanks on D.C. streets without causing considerable damage. 

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney told lawmakers last week that the event could cost between $10 million and $30 million.

Lawmakers, particularly Democrats, have also expressed opposition to the optics of the parade. Many raised concerns that a military display could provoke North Korea or make the United States appear boastful and insecure. 

Even some Republicans, including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), said that a military parade could send the wrong message. 

"I don't mind having a parade honoring the service and sacrifice of our military members," Graham said. "I'm not looking for a Soviet-style hardware display. That's not who we are, it's kind of cheesy and I think it shows weakness, quite frankly."

Many lawmakers have urged Trump to instead direct funds to supporting mental health services for veterans, rather than a parade. 

A poll released Tuesday found that a majority of Americans, 61 percent, disapprove of the idea of a military parade, compared to only 26 percent who support it. Three-quarters of respondents said the parade would not be a good use of government funds.

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