Trump's Parade Idea Puts Critics on Tricky Ground

Democrats could come off as anti-military
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 7, 2018 10:40 AM CST
Is Trump's Parade Idea Just One 'Massive Troll'?
President Trump is pushing for a big military parade.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

"I want a parade like the one in France." That quote is in wide circulation Wednesday as part of reports that President Trump wants to stage a military parade later this year. A Pentagon spokesperson confirms to CNN that plans are underway, though still in the "infancy" stage. Meanwhile, the idea is drawing all kinds of reaction, both positive and negative. Details and developments, including the idea that Trump is masterfully trolling his critics with this proposal:

  • In favor: Count David French of the National Review as among those in favor. His tweet sums up: "In the more than 16 years since 9/11 our military has 1) Toppled the Taliban. 2) Toppled Saddam. 3) Defeated the follow-on AQI insurgency. 4) Defeated the ISIS caliphate in Iraq and Syria. 5) Endured years of grinding deployments while fighting with honor. I’m fine with a parade.”
  • The criticism: Chris Cillizza at CNN hits a common point in an op-ed, making the case that any parade would be mostly about Trump's ego. Cillizza's hunch is that Trump saw the one in France and thought, "We need something bigger"—because, in the president's world, "bigger is always better." Another quote in wide circulation: Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier's line that "we have a Napoleon in the making here," per Business Insider.

  • Last one in US: The last national military parade took place in 1991 under George HW Bush as Desert Storm troops celebrated victory in the Persian Gulf War on Constitution Avenue in DC, per CBS News.
  • Trump's best troll? At the conservative Power Line blog, John Hinderaker writes that Trump "has a unique ability to make liberal heads explode," and the post suggests the parade idea is the president's "greatest troll ever." Hinderaker predicts liberals will go into "a tizzy," while "normal Americans will wonder what is wrong with a parade." Aaron Blake at the Washington Post sounds a similar theme, saying the president will revel in the controversy. A parade "will be one massive troll, complete with tanks and flyovers and marching soldiers. And it will be thoroughly Trump."
  • A difference in France? "For the record: France's Bastille Day military parade is an old tradition, going back to 1880," tweets Le Monde writer Sylvie Kauffman. "Its longevity & popularity have many historical reasons. Probably different from Trump's motivations." At the Washington Post, Rick Noack susses out this point. He casts Trump's message as, "Look at how strong we (and I) are," and the one in France as "We are only strong together."
  • Danger for critics: The military is a rarity, an institution generally held in high regard by Americans across the political spectrum, per a post at the Economist. Therefore, Democrats who oppose the idea risk coming across as anti-military. Jonathan Freedland of the Guardian amplifies the point: "Fox News, the Republicans, and the conservative media-industrial complex will waste no time in saying the parade is a celebration of the troops—and therefore any critic is really criticizing 'the young men and women who heroically defend America's freedom and put themselves in harm's way,' or words to that effect."
  • Other nations: CNN looks at how China, Russia, France, and North Korea display their military might in parades.
(More President Trump stories.)

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