Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman and Democratic challenger Jason Crow, both combat veterans, scowled Wednesday at reports President Donald Trump has asked the Pentagon to plan a grand military parade in the streets of Washington, D.C.
“No shutdowns, no parades,” Coffman told Colorado Politics through a spokesman while the House was grappling with legislation to continue funding the federal government. “We need to focus on what moves us forward — cleaning up the VA, fixing DACA, securing our borders, and growing wages.”
“Instead of making our men and women in uniform take valuable training and family time (not to mention the millions of tax dollars) to march in a parade for his amusement, maybe President Trump should get out there and lead by example,” Crow said in a statement to Colorado Politics. “But it has become abundantly clear that this President isn’t interested in leading by example, or trying to do the right thing for our military.”
Crow, an Army Ranger veteran who served three combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and was awarded a Bronze Star, is one of four Democrats — and one Republican — running in the 6th Congressional District against Coffman, who served in the Army and Marine Corps and is the only veteran in Colorado’s congressional delegation.
At a meeting with top Pentagon brass last month, The Washington Post first reported, Trump delivered “marching orders” to hold a parade to celebrate U.S. military strength “like the one in France,” referring to a Bastille Day parade the president witnessed in Paris last summer.
Democrats and some Republicans rained down criticism and mockery on the idea, comparing it to displays that are common in authoritarian regimes but exceedingly rare in the United States.
“I think confidence is silent and insecurity is loud,” Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy, a Republican, told reporters Wednesday. “America is the most powerful country in all of human history; you don’t need to show it off.”
In a tweet, the Washington, D.C., city council wrote: “The DC government will open on time today. DC Public Schools will open on time today. Sadly, the Giant Tank Parade is cancelled. Permanently.”
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, however, brushed back the jeers Wednesday, telling reporters that Trump’s request reflects his respect and “affection for the military,” the Associated Press reported.