WASHINGTON — President Trump on Friday canceled plans for a military parade this fall in Washington, blaming local officials for inflating the costs and saying they “know a windfall when they see it.”
Washington’s mayor, Muriel Bowser, pushed back on Twitter, saying that she had “finally got thru” to the president to convey the “realities” of what it costs to stage events like military parades in the city.
She put the number at $21.6 million, though the city’s costs are just a fraction of the total, with federal agencies also kicking in millions of dollars. A day earlier, the Pentagon said Mr. Trump’s parade to celebrate the military could be postponed to 2019, as officials acknowledged that the event could cost more than $90 million.
The parade was initially scheduled for Nov. 10 — Veterans Day weekend — of this year. In a pair of tweets, Mr. Trump allowed for the possibility of a parade in 2019. He said that this year he would instead attend another parade planned at Joint Base Andrews and a military parade in Paris.
The president also took a jab at the local government in Washington, saying the city is “poorly” run. Ms. Bowser, a Democrat, hit back, mocking the president by ending her tweet with a parenthetical “sad” — a word Mr. Trump often uses in his own tweets — and calling him “the reality star in the White House.” The city’s residents voted overwhelmingly for Mr. Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, in 2016.
According to a cost breakdown provided by the city to The New York Times, 18 local agencies would share the cost of the $21.6 million price tag, including more than $13 million for the Metropolitan Police Department for security measures. The city is typically reimbursed for such expenses by the federal government.
Estimates are often based on past costs for similar parades. For the 2017 inauguration, which included a parade, officials estimated that it would cost the city $20 million, according to The Washington Post. Federal agencies put up millions of dollars, as well. Most of the costs are security-related expenses.
Mr. 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 ranged from $10 million to $30 million; CNBC first reported the new $90 million figure.
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.”
The president suggested that the money the government would save could go toward purchasing more military jets, though that funding would not go far. For example, the Air Force version of the new F-35 fighter jet costs about $94 million.
Mr. 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. It was not immediately clear which parade the president plans to attend at Andrews.
The president had hoped to have military tanks and jets at his own inauguration parade, but he was told he could not.
The last time a similar parade was held in Washington was in 1991, celebrating the end of the Persian Gulf War. It cost about $12 million, or about $22 million in today’s dollars.
Mr. Trump’s dream of a military parade with tanks barreling down the streets and fighter jets flying above him has faced resistance. Critics have said these parades typically mark a victory in a war. Others have said it may not be the best use of the Defense Department’s money.