Trump’s Military Parade Could Cost Up To $30,000,000

President Trump's military parade would come with a not insignificant cost.

Donald Trump’s military parade could end up costing up to $30 million:

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s military parade will not come cheap.

Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director, estimated on Wednesday that the public display of America’s military might that Mr. Trump has called for could cost between $10 million and $30 million, and said the government would have to come up with a way to cover the cost.

Funding for the parade was not included in the White House’s 2019 budget request, which was released on Monday, because it was a relatively new idea, Mr. Mulvaney said at a House Budget Committee hearing on Wednesday. He explained that the final cost would be determined by the size, scope and length of the parade.

“We will continue to work with you folks if we decide to continue forward with this initiative,” Mr. Mulvaney said. “Of course, you’d have to appropriate funds for it or we would have to find funds that we’ve already appropriated.”

Stan Collender, a former staff member on the House and Senate budget committees, said that the funding for the parade could be found without a formal budget request by using existing money already in the Department of Defense budget or possibly from the Department of Homeland Security or the National Park Service.

The president has said that he wants to celebrate the armed forces with a spectacle akin to the Bastille Day parade in France.

The last such celebration in Washington occurred in the summer 1991 when the end of the relatively brief Persian Gulf War was celebrated with a $12 million dollar victory parade.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said earlier this month that he is working to develop plans to fulfill the president’s request.

“We’re all aware in this country of the president’s affection and respect for the military,” Mr. Mattis said. “We have been putting together some options, we will send them up to the White House for decision.”

Some Republicans have been reluctant to endorse a military parade. Last week, Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana said “confidence is silent and insecurity is loud” and that the United States did not need to show off its power.

Representative Barbara Lee, a Democrat of California, pressed Mr. Mulvaney at the hearing on Wednesday about paying for a parade and suggested that holding one is reminiscent of displays of grandeur often seen in authoritarian countries.

But the parade’s potential price tag could be its biggest obstacle. Republicans are already facing criticism from conservative economists and others for adding to the federal deficit at a moment when the United States is already borrowing heavily and when the nation’s debt has already topped $20 trillion. The White House budget released on Monday projects deficits will grow $7 trillion over the next decade, in part because of the $1.5 trillion tax cut that Republicans passed last year.

The Trump administration has proposed cutting $3 trillion in nondefense discretionary spending, including by reducing funds for social welfare programs. This week, the Trump budget proposed cutting funding for the low-income food program known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, to pay for large increases in spending on the military. According to the left-leaning Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, the $30 million that would be spent on the parade would provide annual food stamp benefits for about 20,000 people.

As I discussed when I first posted about Trump’s desire to hold a Bastille Day style military parade, apparently through the streets of Washington, D.C., the primary purpose of an event such as this seems rather obvious. Rather than being aimed at “supporting” or “honoring” “the troops,” the entire event is and would be aimed at stroking the ego of the President of the United States. From his comments and his actions, it’s obvious that Trump is utterly fascinated by displays of military might at what sometimes seems like a child-like level. He also clearly enjoys the kind of adulation typically given to authoritarian rulers such as Vladimir Putin and the leaders of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and The Philippines. Indeed, given the manner in which he lashes out at anyone who dares to criticize him, it seems clear that he has a preference for militaristic authoritarianism that should raise concerns in a representative democracy such as ours. It isn’t a healthy attitude for any politician to have and certainly not one that a President should have. Of course, the Administration will sell this idea as being a tribute to “the troops,” which then gives the President and his supporters the ability to label anyone who opposes the idea as “un-American” or, as he once called the free press, an “enemy of the state.” For that reason alone, his desire to have such a parade should be rejected out of hand.

Leaving aside those issues, though, the idea of spending $30,000,000 to satisfy the President’s overinflated ego is absurd. Yes, it’s a small amount of money relatively speaking, but it’s also not an insignificant amount of money. As someone pointed out in a Twitter conversation I had about this the other day, that amount of money would be sufficient to cover SNAP (Food Stamp) benefits for about 30,000 people for a year. This is a somewhat relevant fact since there are many military families who rely on those benefits to be able to feed their families. If you want to honor and help “the troops” it would strike me that spending the money that it would cost for Trump’s military parade on something like that. Additionally, it’s likely that the $30,000,000 price tag only covers the costs that would be incurred by the Federal Government and doesn’t cover the costs that would be incurred by the District of Columbia for such a parade. This would be especially true if, as Trump apparently wants, this parade includes heavily armored vehicles that would end up damaging the roads in the District as happened during the parade that was held there in 1991 to mark the end of the Persian Gulf War. Taking that into account, the $30,000,000 price tag is likely just the beginning.

Since Donald Trump is the President, of course, it seems likely that a parade like this will happen at some point in the future unless he can be persuaded to abandon the idea. As I noted in my original post, the most likely day for such an event at this point would probably be Veterans Day in November, which would also mark the centennial of the end of World War One. Given the fact that we have yet to have really memorialized the men who fought in that war, perhaps that would be appropiate. The better alternative, though, would be to save the time and money and not have a parade at all.

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Military Affairs, National Security, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Mister Bluster says:

    Does that include the cost of a Sedan Chair so Bungles and JKB and the other Trump Tramps that hang around here can carry their Pretty Boy at the head of this spectacle?




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  2. Mu says:

    The whole idea is braindead, but I wonder were that cost estimate is from. There are some bleachers and some police overtime for traffic control, but the military participation is basically a unit transport exercise and some formal drill training. It’s not like the army pays overtime.




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  3. Dumb Brit says:

    Having served in the military for over 30 years I think it’s pretty clear; Dim Don Wrong




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  4. Bnut says:

    This is probably the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of in my military experience.

    And they are claiming it’s to “honor veterans and the military”

    Horseshit. If you want to honor veterans and the military, how about instead of making thousands of troops march around for weeks preparing for this stupid parade you let them spend a few days with their families on the 4th of July or memorial/veterans day?

    Supposedly the biggest priority for the military at least at this point is readiness.

    Is taking weeks off to rehearse and months to plan this dumb af goatrope increasing our readiness? No. So why are we doing it?




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  5. Joe says:

    I can’t believe that no one is mentioning private sponsorship. Lockheed Martin, anyone?




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  6. CSK says:

    Trump claims to have 10 billion dollars. Let him foot the bill for his own masturbation fantasy.




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  7. CanadianYankee says:

    Donald Trump: The military “cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs” associated with transgender soldiers.

    Also Donald Trump: Let’s spend wads o’ cash on a big-ass military parade!




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  8. Kathy says:

    Make ISIS pay for it!




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  9. KM says:

    @Mu:
    Damages and decorations. Moving heavy equipment destroys roads so DC’s gonna need some road repair right off the bat. There’s a reason the highways of America were designed the way they were and street layout conceived of back when horses were the rage isn’t going to cut it.

    As for decorations, well if you think Mr Covers-Everything-In-Gold wasn’t going to insist on a blinged out paraded, you clearly haven’t been paying attention. It won’t be “some bleachers” it will be multiple streets covered in all sorts of decorative displays, propaganda and of course, heated club boxes rented out. Cheap garish bunting, no – expensive garish bunting, yes!




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  10. CSK says:

    This must be one of Trump’s favorite images of himself: wearing his MAGA chapeau whilst speechifying against a background of really big phallic symbols.




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  11. Ratufa says:

    I don’t understand why the parade isn’t being funded the usual GOP way: by having another tax cut, The additional government revenue should more than pay for it.




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  12. Tyrell says:

    $30, 000, 000? Are they going to be riding in Roll-Royce vehicles?
    Why not get sponsors from the private sector, such as football team owners and car companies ?




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  13. gVOR08 says:

    The estimated cost of anything military depends on whether the estimator wants to do it or wants to not do it. Given that this is the United States military we’re talking about, the land of the $500 hammer, 10 to 30 mil sounds like a lowball. Like Doug said,

    Taking that into account, the $30,000,000 price tag is likely just the beginning.

    I note that this number came from Trumpsky’s buddy Mulvaney, not the military.

    Don’t they have that kind of money left over from the Inauguration? Or has that all been spent on lawyers?




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  14. PJ says:

    @Joe:

    I can’t believe that no one is mentioning private sponsorship. Lockheed Martin, anyone?

    @Tyrell:

    Why not get sponsors from the private sector, such as football team owners and car companies ?

    Having private companies sponsor a military parade? I believe that’s a very good idea if the country is a fascist state… Not quite there yet though…

    And if anyone thinks that this is a good idea, why not have private companies sponsor the next war too?




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  15. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Tyrell: Um… because football teams and car companies are more careful about what they spend their money on?




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  16. Kathy says:

    @PJ:

    And if anyone thinks that this is a good idea, why not have private companies sponsor the next war too?

    Won’t happen. The ratings die in weeks. No sane company would keep paying billions for year after year with no end in sight.




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  17. JDM says:

    @PJ:

    There is a long tradition of private companies sponsoring the military and wars. But instead of paying for parades or buying advertising, they just go the shortcut route, and buy Congressmen.




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  18. HarvardLaw92 says:

    OT: Rick Gates is about to cut a plea deal with Mueller. You can draw your own conclusions.




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  19. Tyrell says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Mueller: sitting around all day in a lonely office, counting flies on the wall, marking days off the calendar, lead after lead dissolving, playing with rubber bands and paper clips, phone calls down to refinancing pitches, and listening to the clock tick away to 5:00pm.
    “Well, that’s all, folks!”




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  20. Slugger says:

    The President can’t just be wearing a business suit like some accountant while reviewing the troops during this parade. We must get him a suitable uniform with ribbons, braids, and decorations. Some boots would be nice. And a medal, something big with gold and rhinestones. How about a baton? Or one of those things with horsetail hair? Some may think that this would be costly, but I bet we could get one of Idi Amin’s old outfits cheap, and since Trump and Idi are the same size there would be no alterations required.
    I would think the whole country would get behind a $30 million if Trump does Idi Amin cosplay!




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  21. JDM says:

    @Slugger:

    Remember when Richard Nixon wanted new elaborate uniforms for the secret service, in the White House.

    “President Nixon had ordered that a new uniform be designed after he had seen what palace guards wore in other countries and had decided that the White House needed something as fancy.”

    http://www.weirduniverse.net/blog/comments/nixon_palace_guard




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  22. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Tyrell:

    That’s probably what the Gambinos thought as well.

    Right before they all got arrested …




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  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker: All the more reason to have them pay for it. It will never happen.




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  24. JohnMcC says:

    @Tyrell: His prey do seem to be milling around nervously and leaving their waterholes early though, don’t they. I think that it could be the lion is prowling about.




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  25. al-Ameda says:

    No need to reinvent the wheel here. Russia has the blueprint for military parades, from back in their Soviet-triumphalist period.

    Maybe Russia would be willing to buy a $10M sponsorship for a phalanx of Tanks and Missile Launchers? They could run this through one of Trump’s foundations.




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  26. Tyrell says:

    @HarvardLaw92: “Mueller, sitting in a dark office in a forgotten basement, looking wistfully at a portrait of Director Hoover, thinking back to the glory days of the F.B.I.”
    “Walking through the park and reminiscing”




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  27. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Tyrell:

    Guessing you missed 13 indictments today. Stay tuned for more exciting developments – same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!




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  28. Tyrell says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Thanks, but I will watch “5-0”, then some NBA.
    I’ll get my news from Newsela.




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  29. teve tory says:

    @PJ: ” hi, welcome back to CNN, we’re checking back in with operation Just Freedom, brought to you by Pepsi!”




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