ABOARD US MILITARY AIRCRAFT / WASHINGTON - The U.S. Defense Department says a military parade that President Donald Trump has called for is being postponed until at least next year.
“We originally targeted November 10, 2018 for this event but have now agreed to explore opportunities in 2019,” Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Robert Manning said Thursday.
The announcement comes as media reports said the cost estimate for the parade had gone from about $12 million to $92 million.
Speaking to reporters aboard a U.S. military aircraft Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said that he had given initial guidance for the parade, but he had not seen any cost estimates yet.
“I haven't received an estimate of ($)10 million or ($)92 million,” he said.
“Whoever told you that is probably smoking something that’s legal in my state but not most states,” he joked, in an apparent reference to the use of marijuana, which is illegal in most of the United States but not in the secretary’s home state of Washington.
President Donald Trump said Friday on Twitter he canceled the parade because the local leaders of Washington, where the parade would have been held, wanted to charge the federal government a "ridiculously high" amount of money.
Accusing the leaders of running the nation's capital city "poorly," Trump said he would instead attend a military demonstration at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington, and a November 11 parade in Paris commemorating the end of the First World War.
Washington Mayor Muriel Bower responded on Twitter, saying she "finally got thru to the reality star in the White House with the realities" of what she said would be a $21.6 million bill to host a military parade.
According to a Pentagon memo released in March, the postponed parade is expected to go from the White House to the U.S. Capitol.
The memo said the focus of the parade will be on the "contributions of U.S. military veterans throughout history," starting from the American Revolutionary War.
The parade will include wheeled vehicles but no tanks. Some troops will wear period uniforms, and the airplanes used at the end of the parade will also include "older aircraft, as available."
The inspiration to hold a military parade came from the president's trip to France last year when he and first lady Melania Trump watched Bastille Day events in Paris on July 14, as the guests of French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte.
Military parades in the United States are generally rare. In 1991, U.S. troops paraded through Washington to celebrate the ousting of Saddam Hussein's Iraqi forces from Kuwait in the Gulf War.