After years of insults and disrespect for Americans in uniform, Trump will be the first president since George H. W. Bush to throw a military parade for his enjoyment.
Donald Trump, who has never shied away from defying American norms for the sake of his own ego, is planning to put on a spectacle that would typically be more at home in China or North Korea: a military parade.
According to the Washington Post, the Pentagon is, at the behest of Trump, planning a massive demonstration of U.S. military power on our own streets.
One White House official says the plan “highlights the service and sacrifice of the military and have a unifying moment for the country.” As the Post notes, though, Trumps real motivation may be envy at the display put on by French President Emmanuel Macron on Bastille Day, which led him to demand a Fourth of July parade last year.
Trump would be the first president to put on a military parade since George H. W. Bush and the Constitution Avenue parade to celebrate the end of the Persian Gulf War.
The reported plans have drawn anger from groups like VoteVets. “Trump just declared those who did not applaud him at the State of the Union ‘treasonous’ and ‘un-American.’ Now he wants the military to parade for him. This is not normal. This is not OK,” the group declared.
The egomania and authoritarian undertones are bad enough, but what makes this idea particularly galling is how poorly Trump has treated the service members he commands.
Trump has spent months insulting prisoners of war, attacking two separate Gold Star families, taking a disabled war heros Purple Heart, threatening to kick out troops based on gender identity or immigration status, and proposing to dissolve a program for homeless veterans.
And he has used the troops as a political football, feigning offense on their behalf to attack NFL players kneeling in protest of police brutality.
It does not help matters that Trump never served when he had the chance, something that freshman senator and double amputee Army Lt. Col. Tammy Duckworth vividly reminded “Cadet Bone Spurs” of when she called out his hollow rhetoric.
The military is not a toy for Trumps personal gratification. It is a powerful force of brave men and women serving all of us, to whom he has a solemn responsibility.
Forcing the Pentagon to throw him an ego-stoking parade, after his endless crass attacks on the troops, is a perversion of that responsibility and a flagrant violation of basic decency.