WASHINGTON, D.C. Feb. 7, 2018 – Today, House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) released the following statement about President Trump’s reported request that the Department of Defense organize him a massive military parade:
I am greatly concerned by the reports that President Trump is requesting the Defense Department put together a self-aggrandizing military parade. That would be a grave misuse of military time and energy, and it is a disturbing indicator that President Trump apparently does not understand or care about the military’s actual readiness needs, even as our men and women in uniform are struggling to find time to train and do their real jobs at a time of serious international tension. The military is not President Trump’s personal toy set. He cannot be allowed to continue focusing on parades and ego-inflating toys instead of real, basic military needs that can jeopardize lives if they are not met. This misdirected focus could have real repercussions for human beings in the field and for U.S. national security, and it is not becoming of a Commander-in-Chief.
A military parade of this kind would also be a departure from the values of our constitutional democracy. We are a nation of laws, not of one person. In the past, we have held military parades to celebrate major national events such as the Gulf War or the end of World War II, as achievements by the American people who fought in and supported those efforts. A military parade like this—one that is unduly focused on a single person—is what authoritarian regimes do, not democracies.”