According to an unclassified February 20 memo, written by National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, the parade is scheduled for Veteran’s Day, November 11. A White House spokesman said McMaster’s memo was sent to Secretary of Defense James Mattis, with a request from Trump to provide “concepts of operation for this event,” with a planned route beginning at the White House and ending at the Capitol. The White House on Friday referred inquiries to the Pentagon, which confirmed it was in receipt of the national security adviser’s memo.
Trump visited French President Emmanuel Macron last summer, and was a guest at their Bastille Day parade. The President, who often boasts of his admiration for displays of military strength, stated “It was a tremendous day, and to a large extent because of what I witnessed, we may do something like that on July 4th in Washington,” Trump recalled when Macron visited Washington two months later. “We’re going to have to try to top it.”
In early February, shortly after President Trump publicly floated ideas for the military style parade, Mayor Muriel Bowser’s communications director Anu Rangappa told Washingtonian Magazine that if the President wanted a military parade, he’d have to find a way to pay for it.
In a separate interview, Mayor Bowser said she thinks “most people are concerned with the obstacle” an M1 Abrams tank rolling down Pennsylvania Avenue would create, and “what it would suggest about our country and the direction our country is moving in.” There has been no confirmation as to whether President Trump will actually attend the parade.
Gina Bradbury is a freelance writer with 20 years experience working in both the federal government and private sector. She is active in grassroots advocacy for progressive policy.