Trump cancels military parade, blames D.C. officials for high cost

President Donald Trump Military Parade NBC

(NBC) — President Donald Trump said Friday he has canceled a planned military parade this fall in the nation’s capital because of the “ridiculously high” price tag given by D.C. officials.

“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,” Trump tweeted.

“Never let someone hold you up! 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!”

On Thursday, a defense official told NBC News that the upper estimate of the cost of the parade was $92 million, a figure first reported by CNBC. The potential cost was way above initial estimates.

The military parade was requested by Trump earlier this year.

The Department of Defense said Thursday that the parade was delayed until 2019.

“The Department of Defense and White House have been planning a parade to honor America’s military veterans and commemorate the centennial of World War I,” said Col. Rob Manning on Thursday. “We originally targeted November 10, 2018 for this event but have now agreed to explore opportunities in 2019.”

The estimate for the parade had risen substantially since Trump’s announcement in February when White House budget director Mick Mulvaney told Congress the price could be between $10 million and $30 million.

The cost was initially reported as $12 million, and was based on the cost of the victory parade held in the capital after the 1991 Gulf War, said the official. The Washington Post estimated the cost of the 1991 victory parade as $8 million.

A defense official told NBC News on Thursday that the internal estimate of the cost of the parade rose to $25 million after adjusting for more than 25 years of inflation. But that estimate did not take into account expenses borne by other federal agencies and some nonmilitary line items.

The $92 million figure is the current uppermost estimate, the defense official previously told NBC News, and includes security, transportation and other expenses.

Serious planning for the parade began in June, four months after Trump directed the Defense Department to organize it.

“There is only one person who wants this parade,” a senior U.S. official told NBC News at the time, referring to Trump.

Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters traveling with him to Bogota, Colombia that whoever leaked the $92 million to the press was “probably smoking something that is legal in my state but not in most,” according to The Associated Press.

He added, “I’m not dignifying that number ($92 million) with a reply. I would discount that, and anybody who said (that number), I’ll almost guarantee you one thing: They probably said, ‘I need to stay anonymous.’ No kidding, because you look like an idiot. And No. 2, whoever wrote it needs to get better sources. I’ll just leave it at that.”

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