Some dreams really can come true: Top officials in the White House and Pentagon are considering marching a full-scale military parade through Washington, D.C. on the orders of President Donald Trump, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.
“The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France,” a military official told the Post. “This is being worked at the highest levels of the military.”
Trump has long desired a military celebration of himself, at one point inquiring about which Pentagon military vehicles he could display during his poorly-attended inaugural parade — a plan that was quickly quashed by top officials, documents obtained by the Huffington Post show.
Now, it seems, he might get it after all. A Pentagon spokesperson confirmed the Post’s reporting, telling reporters, “We are aware of the request and are looking at dates.”
Apparently, Trump was inspired by France’s Bastille Day parade, which he attended when he visited Paris and French President Emmanuel Macron. France goes all out for the annual parade — enlisting military tanks and jets in the celebration — and Trump told reporters at the time that the United States was “going to have to try to top it.”
Such a parade will likely cost millions of dollars. Sources told the Post that the celebration may take place on Nov. 11, in order to recognize the centennial of the end of World War I.
“The president wants to do something that highlights the service and sacrifice of the military and have a unifying moment for the country,” one official told the Post.
Historians, however, warned the Post that such a parade may be less evocative of American patriotism and more aligned with totalitarian or nationalist regimes like North Korea and the Soviet Union. Though President Harry Truman and President Jack Kennedy included military parades during their inaugurations, those took place during the Cold War and were meant to combat similar displays in the Soviet Union.
“I don’t think there’s a lack of love and respect for our armed forces in the United States,” Rice University presidential historian Douglas Brinkley told the Post. “What are they going to do, stand there while Donald Trump waves at them? It smacks of something you see in a totalitarian country — unless there’s a genuine, earnest reason to be doing it.”
Despite his adoration for American military pomp, Trump never actually served in the armed forces. He received five draft deferments during the Vietnam War — and while he earned four deferments for attending college, a fifth deferment was for “bone spurs” on Trump’s feet. It is unclear whether those spurs ever bothered Trump after the end of the war.