Citing France's Bastille Day celebration in July—a "dramatic show of pageantry" featuring thousands of French troops and dozens of military jets—U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday suggested that he would like the United States to put on a massive display of "military might" on Independence Day, a proposal commentators immediately portrayed as evidence of Trump's affinity for authoritarian displays of force.
"Strong countries don't do that. Only weak, insecure leaders feel the need to... oh crap. That's us now, isn't it?"
—Nicholas Grossman"What's next, giant portraits and murals of the Dear Leader everywhere?" asked Garry Kasparov, chairman of the Human Rights Foundation.
French President Emmanuel Macron laughed when Trump expressed his desire to "top" France's military festivities during a meeting at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, but the U.S. president appeared to be quite serious about wanting to put on "a really great parade to show [the U.S.'s] military strength." The parade, Trump suggested, would march down Pennsylvania Avenue.
"I think we're looking forward to doing that," Trump said. "I'm speaking with [retired general and Chief of Staff John Kelly] and with all of the people involved."
Watch Trump's remarks:
— ABC News (@ABC) September 18, 2017
Trump has long expressed his love for military spectacles—and his desire to put on such a show with his name attached to it.
As the New York Times notes, Trump's inaugural committee considered "the idea of highlighting military equipment in his inaugural parade."
"That military may come marching down Pennsylvania Avenue," Trump said ahead of his inauguration.
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Many mocked Trump's proposal on Monday, which came just ahead of his speech at the U.N. General Assembly, where the president threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea if the nation's leader Kim Jong-un—who Trump has taken to calling "rocket man"—continues to threaten the United States.
Strong countries don't do that. Only weak, insecure leaders feel the need to... oh crap. That's us now, isn't it?https://t.co/NNCfP3f8xM
— Nicholas Grossman (@NGrossman81) September 19, 2017
Trump just said he wants to have a military parade down Pennsylvania Ave. on July 4.
There's precedent for that... pic.twitter.com/pctEqDn0WK
— Caroline O. (@RVAwonk) September 18, 2017
Jesus god. We are 18 months away from Generalissimo Trump, aren't we. You know he'd love wearing the outfit. Medals! https://t.co/0i0n5pF6es
— William Pietri (@williampietri) September 19, 2017