When U.S. President Donald Trump saw the French military parade in Paris last year, he said it was the "greatest parade I've ever seen." At the time Trump reportedly told French President Emmanuel Macron that, "We're going to have to try to top it."
Now, following a January 18th meeting between Trump and top generals in the Pentagon reported by the Wasington Post, the U.S. president is going to get his wish.
"The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France," an anonymous military official told the Washington Post. The official, who spoke anonymously, said "This is being worked at the highest levels of the military."
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed reports of a planned military parade after the Washington Post broke the story, saying “President Trump is incredibly supportive of America’s great service members who risk their lives every day to keep our country safe,” she said. “He has asked the Department of Defense to explore a celebration at which all Americans can show their appreciation.”
The Pentagon also confirmed the plan, noting that they are "aware of the request and are in the process of determining specific details." A date and location for the parade are under consideration but have not yet been specified.
Public displays of military strength, which are intensive to plan and expensive, aren't common in the United States. In the American mind, the Washington Post suggests, parades are associated with Soviet or North Korean military celebrations. Presidential historian Michael Beschloss says a modern-day military parade "hark(s) back to the days of the Cold War."
Twitter users were quick to roast Trump with the likes of NBC's Chuck Todd writing, "Can someone become a living and breathing caricature of a caricature?" and Garry kasparov insisting, "Trump wants a Soviet-style military parade, something weak leaders do to try to look strong."
Russia, North Korea, and France all host annual military parades, though Trump is not the only world leader to have recently expressed interest in an ostentatious parade of military power.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested in 2016 that Israel should host military parades on Independence Day, a tradition that Israel stopped in 1973. He suggested a revival during a 2016 Independence Day ceremony while reminiscing about his childhood in Jerusalem.
"There was something of a revival, of independence, and that came across in parades. There were military parades in Jerusalem. I remember seeing a cannon, I saw a tank for the first time. I saw soldiers. It moved me enormously."
"You know what, I have a proposal," Netanyahu said, turning to Ya'alon and Eisenkot. "My friends, let's renew the parades in Jerusalem. A military parade on Independence Day in Jerusalem - that's the basis of our independence, those soldiers."
Trump, who avoided the draft during the Vietnam War by claiming bone spurs, says he wants to host a parade to support American troops. “We’re going to show the people as we build up our military,” Trump said in a pre-inaguration interview with the Washington Post.
"That military may be flying over New York City and Washington, D.C., for parades. I mean, we’re going to be showing our military,” Trump said.
And here's what a military parade looks like in North Korea:
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