PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – U.S. Sen. Jack Reed said Wednesday he opposes the push by President Trump to hold what the senator’s office described as “a showy military parade through the streets of Washington,” saying it will cost a significant amount of money and distract the military.
Reed, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, was reacting to a Washington Post report that Trump has asked Pentagon leaders to organize a parade along the lines of the Bastille Day celebration he witnessed during a trip to Paris last year, when soldiers and military equipment paraded down the French capital’s streets.
“At a time of stress and strain on our military budget, President Trump is proposing a costly parade that would divert needed resources from our military’s core missions,” Reed said.
Reed argued Americans have “many opportunities to show support” for the armed forces already, including local parades or visits to Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Arlington National Cemetery. He also suggested the president could visit Fort Bragg, where Reed served when he was in the Army.
“The president and Congress must provide smart, strategic leadership that matches the courage and sacrifice of our all-volunteer Armed Forces, and, just as importantly, keep politics out of the military,” Reed said.
Reed and three other Democratic senators separately sent a letter Wednesday to Defense Secretary James Mattis asking for more information on the proposed parade, including the estimated cost and how much time the Pentagon is spending planning it.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, defended Trump’s idea in a statement published by The Post.
“President Trump is incredibly supportive of America’s great service members who risk their lives every day to keep our country safe,” she said. “He has asked the Department of Defense to explore a celebration at which all Americans can show their appreciation.”