President Trump's trip to France for the country's Bastille Day parade in July left a big impression. So big, in fact, that he wants to replicate the experience back home.
As Trump met Monday with French President Emmanuel Macron, the commander in chief gushed about seeing France's military might on display in the streets of Paris during his visit. And he told reporters he is looking into the possibility of having a parade down the streets of Washington on Independence Day to show the United States' “military strength.”
“I was your guest at Bastille Day, and it was one of the greatest parades I've ever seen,” Trump told Macron, who sat next to him. “It was two hours on the button, and it was military might and, I think, a tremendous thing for France and the spirit of France.”
“To a large extent because of what I witnessed, we may do something like that on July Fourth in Washington down Pennsylvania Avenue,” Trump said.
The comments prompted laughter from Macron and other officials sitting around them. The leaders were meeting in New York ahead of the United Nations General Assembly. But it wasn't the first time Trump has talked about wanting a military parade in the streets of Washington.
Before the inauguration, Trump officials inquired with the Pentagon about having armored vehicles participate in his inauguration parade, according to documents obtained by HuffPost. And he told The Washington Post in January that he hoped that during his tenure, U.S. military might would be on display.
“Being a great president has to do with a lot of things, but one of them is being a great cheerleader for the country,” Trump said in the January interview. “And we’re going to show the people as we build up our military, we’re going to display our military.”
“That military may come marching down Pennsylvania Avenue. That military may be flying over New York City and Washington, D.C., for parades. I mean, we’re going to be showing our military,” he added.
Although Trump is deeply unpopular in France, he was invited for the 100th Bastille Day ceremony in Paris by Macron in an effort to strengthen the relationship between the two countries and their new leaders. The lengthy parade seemed to thrill the president, who has long held a fascination with military force.
On Monday, seated next to Macron, he boasted about the levels of U.S. military spending so far in his term. And he said his goal would be to “try to top” what France did.
“I think we're looking forward to doing that,” Trump said. “I'm speaking with General Kelly and with all of the people involved, and we'll see if we can do it this year,” he added, referring to Chief of Staff John F. Kelly.
The Pentagon did not immediately respond to requests for comment about plans to hold such a parade.