President Trump held a meeting last month with the nation's top generals inside a secret room at the Pentagon, to discuss something that's been on his mind for months. Before you lock yourself in a panic room, relax — they weren't talking about North Korea or anything nuclear, just a military parade that Trump wants to see wend its way through Washington, D.C.
Two officials briefed on the meeting told The Washington Post the meeting was attended by Defense Secretary James Mattis and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Josepeh Dunford. "The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France," one official said. "This is being worked at the highest levels of the military." Trump was inspired by the Bastille Day celebration he witnessed in Paris last year, while a guest of French President Emmanuel Macron, and he couldn't get the image of marching troops and rolling tanks out of his head. Two months later during a meeting with Macron, he told reporters, "It was one of the greatest parades I've ever seen," adding, "we're going to have to try to top it."
There's no date set, the Post reports, although Trump would like it on a patriotic holiday like the Fourth of July and wants it to go along Pennsylvania Avenue, passing the Trump International Hotel. The cost of shipping symbols of U.S. military might is costly — it could add up to millions and millions of dollars — and it's yet to be decided who will pay for this. The whole thing sounds a bit off to people like presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, who told the Post: "I don't think there's a lack of love and respect for our armed forces in the United States. 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."