WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump blamed the Washington, D.C., government Friday for his decision to cancel a proposed military parade – though Washington officials denied his claim and many federal agencies also raised concerns about the cost and logistics.
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said Friday via Twitter that the District's cost estimate was only $21.6 million, closer to the administration's $12 million projection from February. On Thursday, Pentagon officials told CNN the actual costs would be $92 million, or $80 million more than the original estimate.
"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 said the proposed parade carried significant concerns for taxpayers, and she mocked Trump for his complaints.
"Yup, I’m Muriel Bowser, mayor of Washington DC, the local politician who finally got thru to the reality star in the White House with the realities ($21.6M) of parades/events/demonstrations in Trump America (sad)," she said in a sub-tweet.
John J. Falcicchio, chief of staff to Bowser, took issue with Trump's claim that the city is "poorly" run, calling it "fake news." He cited a newly earned AAA bond rating.
"When they go low, we go high ... Like our bond rating," Falcicchio said in sub-tweeting Trump.
Trump's attendance at a Paris military parade last year inspired him to call for an American version.
U.S. officials on Thursday cited expenses for aircraft, equipment, personnel and security, not charges from the Washington, D.C., government as claimed by Trump.
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.