After Thursday’s report that Donald Trump’s proposed military parade through the streets of Washington, D.C. would end up with a whopping $92 million price tag—666 percent higher than previous estimates—the president decided on Friday to just cancel the whole damn thing, pack up his toys, and fly to France for their parade instead.
As with most things involving Trump, the president’s “decision” to cancel his jingoistic boondoggle increasingly appears less and less like a bold executive action, and more like a hastily tweeted attempt to save face. First off, according to CNBC’s report on the ballooning parade cost, it wasn’t DC politicians who suggested the event’s “ridiculously high” cost—it was a Pentagon estimate, in which more than half of the $92 million dollars would have come out of the Department of Defense itself.
Then there’s the fact that the decision to nix the parade appears not to have come from the White House at all. Instead, the DoD announced last night that they were postponing the event—originally slated for November of this year—and would instead “explore opportunities in 2019.”
As for Trump’s promise to “buy some more jet fighters,” well, that’s just laughable. Assuming the $92 million estimate was correct, that amount—which presumably wouldn’t have actually come out of the Pentagon’s weapons procurement budget in the first place—would cover the approximate cost of just one single Lockheed Martin F-35 combat plane, to say nothing of, oh, I dunno, substantially improving healthcare coverage for veterans.
When asked by CNN White House correspondent Abby Phillip to comment on the American Legion’s having made a similar point spending the money on veterans care rather than a parade, top Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway responded simply: “That’s their opinion.”
Trump’s announcement also came on the same morning that The Daily Beast published a report claiming that the president and then-advisor Omarosa Manigault Newman spent an afternoon last year arguing with a room full of military veterans over whether the Robert Duvall’s iconic “I love the smell of napalm in the morning” line in Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now was as the president repeatedly insisted, actually referencing toxic military herbicide “Agent Orange.” Just a great day for Trump-veteran relations.