Critics condemn Trump’s plan for military parade in US capital

US President Donald Trump’s proposal for a grand military parade through the streets of the US capital has attracted scorn and skepticism from officials in Washington, DC.

Critics argued on Wednesday that a military parade could cost millions of dollars, at a time the US Defense Department wants more stable funding for an overstretched military.

“A military parade in DC would shut down the nation’s capital and waste taxpayer dollars just to feed Trump’s ego,” said Eleanor Holmes Norton, a non-voting delegate to the US Congress for the District of Columbia.

The District of Columbia Council ridiculed the idea of a parade on Pennsylvania Avenue, the 1.2-mile (1.9-km) stretch between the US Congress and the White House that is also the site of the Trump International Hotel.

“Tanks but no tanks!” the city council tweeted.

US Senator Lindsey Graham, a prominent Republican lawmaker in the upper chamber of Congress, said he favored highlighting the country’s military but not its weaponry.

“I think a parade showcasing the military and the sacrifices they make for the country would be appropriate, it would be a way to say thank you, but I’m not interested in a military hardware display. That would be cheesy and project weakness,” Graham told reporters.

Military parades in the United States are generally rare. Such parades in other countries are usually staged to celebrate victories in battle or showcase military might.

The last military parade was in 1991, when tanks and thousands of troops paraded through Washington to celebrate the ousting of Iraqi forces from Kuwait during the reign of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

That parade cost $12 million, according to a report at the time. While the Pentagon does not yet have a cost estimate for how much another parade may cost, it is likely to be in the millions of dollars.

American military officials also say it would also be a logistical challenge to bring thousands of troops, tanks and aircraft to Washington.

Trump publicly expressed his interest in an American military display after watching a French military parade he attended in Paris during Bastille Day last July.

The US president, who called the procession “one of the greatest parades” he had ever seen, told French President Emmanuel Macron that when he went back to the US he wanted a military parade on the Fourth of July in Washington.

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