Trump wants a grand military parade. Some veterans say that won’t fix their problems.

Critics say a parade isn’t the best way Trump could support the military.


President Donald Trump is receiving quite a bit of pushback for his plan for a grand military parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. 

According to a Washington Post report: 

"Surrounded by the military's highest-ranking officials, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., Trump's seemingly abstract desire for a parade was suddenly heard as a presidential directive, the officials said. 

" 'The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France,' said a military official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the planning discussions are supposed to remain confidential. 'This is being worked at the highest levels of the military.' " 

Even the hosts of Trump's beloved "Fox and Friends" expressed reservations about the spectacle that could cost millions. 

"I don't know," co-host Brian Kilmeade said Wednesday. "It seems like a waste of money." 

Trump has frequently spoken of his longtime support for veterans - he praised them twice in the past week in his Black History Month proclamation and in his Super Bowl statement. 

But the president's critics have called his support for the military shallow, noting that Trump has never served in uniform (he was approved of multiple deferments for bone spurs during the Vietnam War), and he has attempted to fill his administration with generals for the purpose of optics. 

Some critics even went so far as to say the parading of military strength makes Trump look more like an authoritarian dictator than the leader of a democracy. 

Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., an Air Force veteran, tweeted that Trump's proposal is a significant waste of funds and suggested Trump focus on other issues, like developing a military strategy. 

And Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., a Marine veteran who served in Iraq, said a parade makes little sense financially or in terms of international relations. 

"A parade of this kind would represent a significant waste of tax dollars. At a time when Congress is wrestling with how best to recapitalize our military and better protect the force after 17 years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, resources should be deployed to enhance military readiness and warfighting, not wasted on such a pointless display," he said in a statement. "No one in the world doubts the strength of our military or the professionalism of our men and women in uniform. A parade will not alter that perception. Instead, it will likely prompt ridicule from our friends and foes alike." 

Vote Vets, a left-leaning veterans group, rebuked the idea with retired Major Gen. Paul Eaton, a senior adviser to the group, saying: "The military is not Donald Trump's to use and abuse in this way. Our military is the very best in the world - they are not to be reduced to stagecraft to prop up Donald Trump's image. Any commander in chief who respects the traditions of the military would understand that. Unfortunately, we do not have a commander in chief, right now, as much as we have a wannabe banana republic strongman." 

But unsurprisingly, some conservatives have expressed support for the parade. 

Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said Democrats and the media will criticize the decision, but citizens will love it. 

"Ds and most media will decry this, objecting to the costs. When it happens, many Ds won't like it because it's militaristic. But most Americans will eat it up. They'll love the pomp and will take pride in the show of force/honor of the troops," he tweeted. 

Many lawmakers and veterans on both sides of the aisle would agree that America needs to put more of a spotlight on veterans and members of the military. When it comes to issues related to physical and mental health, homelessness, unemployment and sexual abuse, advocates say the military is often underfunded and undersupported. 

A White House official familiar with the planning told The Post that the event is still in the "brainstorming" phase. But even if Trump did not require Americans to foot the bill and instead relied on wealthy donors, critics are bound to ask why the president is choosing to fund pageantry instead of areas that could tangibly improve the lives of veterans. 

John Hoellwarth, communications director for American Veterans, a service organization, told The Washington Post that a parade "lionizing the military" could address the military's existing recruitment problems. 

"Burning the existing budget on a parade is probably a better idea than flying aircraft over a dome during the Super Bowl and is not a terrible idea provided that it doesn't come at the expense of other programs" like those related to providing adequate health care for severely injured troops, he said. 

Voters who served in the military (mostly veterans but also active duty) supported Trump by 60 percent over his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, in the 2016 presidential election. 

There's no polling showing what service members want most from their president, but the likelihood of a parade being at the top of the list is low.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation & World

2 victims of cougar attack identified, friends grieving death of avid cyclist
2 victims of cougar attack identified, friends grieving death of avid cyclist

Members of Seattle's biking community are grieving the death of a 32-year-old man killed by a cougar as he and a friend biked near North Bend on Saturday. >> Read more trending news  Now, wildlife officials are trying to determine why the encounter with the cougar turned deadly. This is the first fatal cougar attack in the state in nearly...
Jada Pinkett Smith talks hair loss: ‘I was literally shaking in fear’
Jada Pinkett Smith talks hair loss: ‘I was literally shaking in fear’

Jada Pinkett Smith typically comes across as confident and fearless, but she recently opened up about her experience with hair loss as a woman, one that left her covering her hair with turbans. “A lot of people have been asking why I’ve been wearing turbans,” Pinkett Smith, 46, said on an episode of her Facebook Watch show &ldquo...
Ariana Grande reportedly dating ‘SNL’ comedian Pete Davidson
Ariana Grande reportedly dating ‘SNL’ comedian Pete Davidson

Ariana Grande has been “casually dating” Pete Davidson of “Saturday Night Live” since splitting amicably with rapper Mac Miller, according to a report from Entertainment Tonight. According to an unnamed source, ET reported that Grande and Davidson, both 24, were seen sitting together at an “SNL” after-party...
Maryland police officer killed in line of duty during traffic stop, reports say
Maryland police officer killed in line of duty during traffic stop, reports say

A Maryland police officer was killed Monday during a traffic stop in a neighborhood in Baltimore County, Maryland, according to news reports. The four-year female veteran of the force was responding to reports of a “suspicious vehicle” Monday afternoon when she was fatally injured,” WJZ-TV reported. It’s unclear whether...
Teen killed for his shoes, cellphone, family says
Teen killed for his shoes, cellphone, family says

The family of a slain 16-year-old said he was killed for his shoes and cellphone in Jacksonville, Florida. Police got a call about a shooting just before 3:15 p.m. Sunday. Officers found Marquette Clark dead in the roadway at Ken Knight Drive and Moncrief Road.  His great aunt Daisy Wise said she believes he was killed in a robbery. She said his...
More Stories