Press Releases

Beyer: Trump’s Proposed Military Parade a “Vanity Project” “Reminiscent of Authoritarians”

Points To Concerns Previously Raised By Department of Defense About Damage To Local Infrastructure

f t # e
Washington, February 7, 2018 | comments

Rep. Don Beyer today issued the following statement on the report, confirmed by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that President Trump has asked the Department of Defense to plan a large military parade in Washington, D.C.:

“Most of the reasons why Trump’s idea of huge military parade is a terrible one are immediately obvious. Our military is already strong without having to waste millions of dollars on a parade that could be better spent improving veterans’ services. In 2018 such displays are reminiscent of authoritarians than they are of healthy democracies. Planning this vanity project for President Trump is already an embarrassing misuse of our military leaders’ time, which should be focused on keeping Americans safe.

But there is also regional opposition to this idea because of its local impact. At least one Department of Defense official has already expressed concerns that running heavy military equipment of the kind Trump has asked for could damage local infrastructure. We are still waiting to see the details of Trump’s long-heralded national infrastructure plan, and I fear that my constituents may see their roads ‘chewed up’ before they see any progress toward rebuilding roads and bridges.”

The initial Washington Post report on the parade noted that “military leaders are likely to raise” concerns with the president “that 70-ton tanks built for the battlefield would chew up Pennsylvania Avenue blacktop.” In early 2017, a Department of Defense official said that the military rejected requests from the incoming Trump Administration to include tanks and missile launchers in its inaugural parade out of concerns over “structural support” and the potential destruction of roads.

The Post’s story also noted that the parade would be expected to follow “the same route as Trump’s inaugural parade,” which included passage over Arlington Memorial Bridge. Memorial Bridge, which is set to receive multi-year repairs costing over $200 million beginning later this year, has previously been subject to weight limits due to structural deficiencies.

f t # e