President Trump claimed Friday that sticker shock led to the scrapping of his much maligned military parade.
Trump accused local Washington politicians of price gouging, despite the fact that the jaw-dropping projected $92 million cost was largely due to Pentagon figures for aircraft, equipment and personnel.
“Maybe we will do something next year when the cost comes WAY DOWN,” the President tweeted.
The claim came hours after the Defense Department had already said the parade wouldn’t happen this year.
Col. Rob Manning, a Pentagon spokesman, said Thursday that the military and the White House “have now agreed to explore opportunities in 2019.”
The Associated Press and CNBC reported on Thursday the parade would cost about $92 million — $80 million more than the price first suggested by the Trump administration.
A majority of the taxpayer funds, roughly $50 million, would cover costs for aircraft, tanks, transportation and personnel for the Nov. 11 spectacle.
Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser knocked Trump and his finger-pointing tweets.
“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.
The President announced that he’ll be skipping town the weekend of Veterans Day, when the parade was planned to take place.
Trump said he “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.”
France hosts an annual parade to commemorate the end of hostilities during World War I on Armistice Day, which coincides with Veterans Day in the U.S.
But Trump’s initial plans for a celebration of military might appeared more in line with authoritarian-style displays seen in China and North Korea.
Some critics speculated that there were other reasons beside the price tag for the sudden cancellation.
Several veterans’ groups were expected to launch protests in D.C. to counter Trump’s parade.
Activist and Vietnam era vet John Penley said he received approval to stage an anti-war rally in a park near the route.
“We have no doubt that the rapidly growing number of requests for protest permits in DC and the intel they have on the possible number of protests and people planning to protest Trump’s Military Parade caused the President and the Pentagon to… announce that the date of the parade had been changed to next year,” Penley said in a statement. “Well, as far as I know at this point nobody is cancelling their Veterans Day weekend protests and we definitely are not.”
Common Defense, a progressive group of vets and military families, also planned a counter-demonstration.
“Trump’s arrogant attempt to use our brothers and sisters in uniform as his unwilling political props suffered a major defeat, and that defeat could not have happened without the organizing of veterans and military families,” said Common Defense executive director Pam Campos, a former Air Force military intelligence analyst.