Pentagon: Trump canceled military parade before being briefed on cost
President Trump canceled his desired military parade before Pentagon officials briefed him on cost estimates for the event, a Defense Department spokesman said Monday.
“The president was not briefed by any member of the Department of Defense on any cost associated with the parade,” Col. Rob Manning told reporters at the Pentagon.
The statement seems to contradict Trump’s own tweet from Friday morning, in which he claimed he axed the event after receiving a high cost estimate. The parade’s $92 million price tag leaked to the media on Thursday.
“The local politicians who run Washington, D.C. (poorly) know a windfall when they see it. When asked to give us a price for holding a great celebratory military parade, they wanted a number so ridiculously high that I cancelled it,” he wrote on Twitter.
Trump went on to say that he will instead attend a parade already scheduled at Andrews Air Force Base in May, as well as a parade in Paris celebrating the end of World War I on Nov. 11.
Defense Secretary James Mattis disputed the cost estimate, telling reporters traveling with him Thursday in South America that whoever gave out that number is “an idiot.”
Manning said at that time that he had not been briefed on figures.
He also said he cannot confirm the $92 million amount, as “the planning had not reached that level.”
“Any figure that was cited was predecisional. The planning committee for the parade had not reached a point where they have briefed senior leadership in the department. It was moving forward, it had just not matured to that point,” Manning said.
The Pentagon on Thursday night put out a statement saying the parade was postponed until 2019.
Manning repeated on Monday that the Pentagon will now “explore opportunities in 2019” to hold the parade.
“We are now going to look at providing options that will go up to the president for a decision for 2019,” he said.
Trump in February officially ordered the Defense Department to start planning the parade, and by March the Pentagon released a memo with initial guidance.
The parade was originally scheduled for Veterans Day to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
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