Donald Trump’s idea for wasting resources by holding a military parade has been derided by millions of Americans, including some at Fox News. In a departure from their typical obedience, even his fellow Republicans are panning the wacky scheme.
Tank treads would rip up Pennsylvania Avenue, and imagery of military hardware rolling past a leader is historically more in line with rogue dictators than American presidents, but Trump is a dyed-in-the-wool authoritarian.
Asking the U.S. military (the largest and most effective fighting force ever assembled) to submit to his will is perfectly in character for Trump.
But Republican elected officials who are generally fine with rubber-stamping Trump’s oddball notions are openly skeptical of his parade aspirations.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC) told CNN, “Im not looking for a Soviet-style hardware display. Thats not who we are. Its kind of cheesy. I think it shows weakness, quite frankly.”
Sen. John Kennedy (LA) noted that “confidence is silent and insecurity is loud,” adding, “America is the most powerful country in all of human history, everybody knows it, and we dont need to show it off.”
Rep. Mike Coffman (CO) tweeted, “No shutdowns, no parades.”
Sen. David Perdue (GA), said, “Personally, I would prefer not to do it.”
Sen. Roger Wicker (MS) said the parade was not a priority and noted, “If it would save money not to do it, we probably ought to look at that.”
Democrats were far more direct in their criticism than Republicans were.
Rep. Jackie Speier (CA) told Anderson Cooper she was “stunned” by the idea, adding “We have a Napoleon in the making here.”
Sen. Brian Schatz (HI) wrote, “We have the mightiest military on the planet and we don’t need a parade to prove that.”
Illinois’ Dick Durbin, the Senate Democratic whip, said, “I believe that spending millions, maybe more, on the President’s amusement is a colossal waste of funds that should be spent to make sure our troops are ready for battle and come home safely, their families receive all the support they deserve and that the waiting lines at VA facilities be reduced.”
Trump’s push for this sort of display is huge a departure from the confidence of his immediate predecessor.
In 2016, President Barack Obama acknowledged American military strength in his final State of the Union, and he didn’t need a wasteful and embarrassing parade to make his point:
The United States of America is the most powerful nation on Earth. Period. It’s not even close. We spend more on our military than the next eight nations combined. Our troops are the finest fighting force in the history of the world. No nation dares to attack us or our allies because they know that’s the path to ruin.
The Obama administration could point to tangible results instead of resorting to showy displays. Like former Vice President Joe Biden said, “Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive.”
When Republicans break their lockstep with Trump, even for a nanosecond, to criticize one of his proposals, it’s clear how out of touch with normalcy the Trump administration is.