The Pentagon is working out the details on the big parade past the White House wanted by President Donald Trump to show his "fondness for the military" and the nation's growing strength under his administration, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Wednesday.
No date has been set for the parade that reportedly will include tanks, but once the logistics are worked out, "we'll send them up to the White House for a decision," Mattis said at the White House, where he had earlier pressed for a budget deal to avoid another government shutdown.
"We're all aware in this country of the President's affection and respect for the military," Mattis said. "We've been putting together some options."
"The President's respect, his fondness for the military, I think, is reflected in him asking for these options," Mattis said.
On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed a report in the Washington Post that Trump had held discussions at the highest levels of the Defense Department on holding a military parade that would probably take the traditional route down Pennsylvania Ave. past the White House.
"He has asked the Department of Defense to explore a celebration at which all Americans can show their appreciation," Huckabee Sanders said.
The proposal for the parade has drawn criticism from Democrats on the costs and possible damage to the parade route from the tank treads.
Rep. Ted Lieu, D-California, an Air Force reserve colonel, said in a Tweet: "You know what would be more useful than asking the Pentagon to waste money on a big military parade? Basically anything."
Trump's desire for a military parade reportedly grew out of his attendance last July at the annual Bastille Day parade in Paris, which included military vehicles and a flyover by French jets that drew applause from Trump. U.S. units stationed in Europe also participated in the French parade.
At the time, Trump said the two-hour parade was a "tremendous thing for France and for the spirit of France," and he told French President Emmanuel Macron that he wanted one on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington that would be even grander.
Although no date has been set, The Washington Post said that the Pentagon was considering Veterans Day in November, partly because it would coincide with commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the victorious end of World War I.
-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.