President Trump, in a thematically cacophonous tweet Friday morning, blamed local D.C. politicians for having to postpone a wished-for military parade while saying he’ll instead attend another parade outside Washington and also in Paris and maybe use the savings to “buy some more jet fighters!”
The event originally was scheduled for the day before Veterans Day but has now been moved to an unknown date in 2019, a spokesman for the Pentagon said in a statement Thursday.
The Pentagon did not offer a reason for the delay.
But cost and logistics were likely factors. Over the winter, the president's budget director said the cost would be between $10 and $30 million. Since that time, estimates have skyrocketed to upwards of $90 million.
While Trump has faced bipartisan criticism for the parade plans – Usama bin Laden slayer Rob O’Neill once tweeted that a "military parade is third world bulls---" – Trump on Friday accused District of Columbia leaders of trying to milk the federal government for cash.
“The local politicians who run Washington, D.C. (poorly) know a windfall when they see it. When asked to give us a price for holding a great celebratory military parade, they wanted a number so ridiculously high that I cancelled it,” Trump tweeted. “Never let someone hold you up!”
He then said he’ll instead “attend the big parade already scheduled at Andrews Air Force Base on a different date, & go to the Paris parade, celebrating the end of the War, on November 11th.”
As a final flourish, he added, “Maybe we will do something next year in D.C. when the cost comes WAY DOWN. Now we can buy some more jet fighters!”
He probably wouldn’t be able to buy that many jet fighters with the money. A single F-35 fighter jet runs just under $100 million for the cheapest version.
But the estimates for a D.C. military parade are still fuzzy. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis disputed a reported estimate from The Associated Press of roughly $90 million.
And D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, in hitting back at Trump, threw out a different figure, though it’s not clear if that excludes direct Pentagon costs for equipment and personnel.
“Yup, I’m Muriel Bowser, mayor of Washington DC, the local politician who finally got thru to the reality star in the White House with the realities ($21.6M) of parades/events/demonstrations in Trump America (sad),” she tweeted.
Trump’s announcement that he’ll travel to Paris means he’ll return to the city that first inspired the idea for a military parade in Washington. Trump began pushing for a U.S. parade after attending France's Bastille Day in July 2017, a celebration he called "magnificent."
Fox News’ Elizabeth Zwirz, Lucas Tomlinson and Doug McKelway contributed to this report.