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Trump cancels military parade, blaming Washington officials for inflating costs

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President Donald Trump delivers remarks ahead of a meeting with members of Congress in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, July 17, 2018. - TOM BRENNER/THE NEW YORK TIMES
  • Tom Brenner/The New York Times
  • President Donald Trump delivers remarks ahead of a meeting with members of Congress in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, July 17, 2018.
By Eileen Sullivan
New York Times News Service

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Friday canceled plans for a military parade this fall in Washington, blaming local officials for inflating the estimated costs, saying they “know a windfall when they see it.”

Trump said he would instead attend another parade planned at Joint Base Andrews this year and a military parade in Paris.

“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. Never let someone hold you up!” Trump wrote. “I will 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. Maybe we will do something next year in D.C. when the cost comes WAY DOWN. Now we can buy some more jet fighters!”

A day earlier, the Pentagon said Trump’s parade to celebrate the military could be postponed to 2019, as officials said the event could cost more than $90 million. The parade was initially scheduled for Nov. 10 of this year. In his tweet, Trump allowed for the possibility of a parade in 2019.

Trump, who enjoys military history, called last year for a parade of troops, tanks, jets and other equipment to pass through the streets of the nation’s capital. Early cost estimates for the fanfare were for between $10 million and $30 million; CNBC first reported the new $90 million figure.

The president acknowledged the high price of the parade and suggested that the money the government would save could go toward purchasing more military jets.

On Thursday, Jim Mattis, the secretary of defense, dismissed reports of a cost estimate of more than $90 million, saying, “I guarantee you there’s been no cost estimate.”

Trump was impressed by a Bastille Day parade that he attended in Paris in July 2017. The city is scheduled to hold its annual Armistice Day parade in November.