If President Donald Trump is the bully many have opined, that status didn’t sway D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, who has shot down the president’s plans for a dictator-like military parade.
“Yup, I’m Muriel Bowser, mayor of Washington DC, the local politician who finally got through to the reality star in the White House with the realities of parades, events, demonstrations in Trump America — sad,” Bowser tweeted after Trump announced plans for his military parade in the District have been postponed at least until next year.
The Pentagon had placed the cost at nearly $100 million and many had criticized the president for what they said was his desire to hold the kind of parade the world normally witnesses from dictators like Kim Jong Un of North Korea and the late Saddam Hussein of Iraq.
Trump, of course, lashed out at Bowser, who estimated the cost to be closer to $21.6 million but said it still carried a heavy burden for taxpayers.
“The local politicians who run Washington, D.C. — poorly — know a windfall when they see it,” Trump tweeted. “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.”
Trump also announced he would attend a smaller parade already scheduled for Joint Base Andrews, as well as a Nov. 11 parade in Paris to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
“Maybe we will do something next year in D.C. when the cost comes way down,” Trump tweeted. “Now, we can buy some more jet fighters.”
Bowser’s staff and other DC officials took issue with Trump’s choice of words and his characterization of why the planned event was canceled.
“Poorly run? Fake news,” said John Falcicchio, Bowser’s chief of staff. “When they go low, we go high … like our bond rating.”
In a statement, the Pentagon said “the Department of Defense and White House have been planning a parade to honor America’s military veterans and commemorate the centennial of World War I. We originally targeted November 10, 2018 for this event but have now agreed to explore opportunities in 2019.”
Some military groups welcomed the decision.
“The parade money would be better spent fully funding the Department of Veterans Affairs and giving our troops and their families the best care possible,” the American Legion said, USA Today reported.
Bowser said in a later interview that she found the accusation that D.C. officials were trying to exaggerate the city’s security costs galling, especially since the city had been working to plan the event with little lead time.
“The notion that we would overstate what it takes to properly have a parade or demonstration, especially on this short notice, for some benefit to the city — it was just outrageous,” Bowser said. “It’s pretty clear that the president is upset about the parade, and it appears that he didn’t want to take on his own agencies … or the Pentagon, so he decided that we were a good target.”
Although the president has long discussed a potential military parade, it was only on Aug. 8 that Bowser reportedly received a letter from U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen saying the event would take place “on or about Nov. 10, 2018” and discussing the need for planning and coordination with city agencies.
The White House Office of Management and Budget did not approach D.C. city officials until Tuesday, Aug. 14 to discuss logistical costs, a Bowser administration official told reporters.
The White House reportedly had scant details about the event, said the official, who requested anonymity.
There was no indication of how long the parade would last — including whether it would span multiple days — nor confirmation of the Nov. 10 date, the official said, according to published reports. There also was no precise route specified nor estimates for the number of people and military equipment involved.
“We had a general idea that it was from the Capitol to the White House, but that’s it,” the official said.
OMB requested that the city, despite the lack of detail, produce ballpark estimates of how much it would have to spend — and be reimbursed — in order to provide security and other services.
“Mr. Trump should run his federal government as well as we are running ours,” Mendelson tweeted.
Council member Elissa Silverman (I-At Large) also suggested the city has other priorities than Trump does.
“Happy to be targeted by Trump for wanting to spend our taxpayer dollars on uplifting working families and local DC businesses,” she wrote on Twitter, adding the hashtag #Resist.