Trump eyes more fighter jets with money that would’ve gone to his parade

Updated

Donald Trump’s plans for a military parade in D.C. have evolved over time, but the latest goal was for a big celebration this year to commemorate the centennial of World War I. Whether the anniversary became a convenient excuse to hold a parade the president wanted anyway is an open question, but let’s note that he originally wanted the parade on the 4th of July.

Regardless, as we discussed this morning, the administration pulled the plug on the idea when the price tag reached $92 million. Trump himself weighed in on the subject this morning, in a pair of tweets:

“The local politicians who run Washington, D.C. (poorly) know a windfall when they see it. When asked to give us a price for holding a great celebratory military parade, they wanted a number so ridiculously high that I cancelled it. Never let someone hold you up!

“I will instead attend the big parade already scheduled at Andrews Air Force Base on a different date, & go to the Paris parade, celebrating the end of the War, on November 11th. Maybe we will do something next year in D.C. when the cost comes WAY DOWN. Now we can buy some more jet fighters!”

This struck me as notable for a few reasons. First, it’s not altogether clear the hefty price tag came from local officials in D.C. Indeed, the latest figure came by way of the Pentagon, not the mayor’s office, and included costs that have effectively nothing to do with local government – including “security, transportation of parade assets, aircraft, as well as temporary duty for troops.”

Second, it’s kind of amusing that Trump is so focused on parades, he’s started making arrangements for alternatives now that his plans have fallen through. He can’t afford to host a militaristic display in his nation’s capital? Fine, he’ll go to France. That’ll show ‘em.

But it was those last eight words that struck me as especially significant: “Now we can buy some more jet fighters!”

I don’t imagine Trump thought this through, but his message points to two possibilities: (a) we don’t really need more jet fighters, but now that the president has some extra millions lying around, he’s inclined to give Boeing a call to place an order; or (b) we do need more jet fighters, but we didn’t have the money until the cancelled military parade freed up some resources.

Perhaps the White House can let us know which of these two scenarios is true?