WASHINGTON (CN) — Hours after reports of a $92 million price tag earned derision from his top general, President Donald Trump tweeted Friday that the estimate for his now-canceled military parade was “ridiculously high.”
“The local politicians who run Washington, D.C. (poorly) know a windfall when they see it,” he 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.”
But the evening prior, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters traveling with him to Bogota, Colombia, that the $92 million was pure fiction.
“I’m not dignifying that number ($92 million) with a reply,” he said, as quoted by the Associated Press. “I would discount that, and anybody who said (that number), I’ll almost guarantee you one thing: They probably said, ‘I need to stay anonymous.’ No kidding, because you look like an idiot. And No. 2, whoever wrote it needs to get better sources. I’ll just leave it at that.”
Trump set the stage for a show of military might — the country’s first since Desert Storm — back in February. While initial criticism focused on how such parades are more common in countries run by totalitarian regimes, the objections became more pointed in June following Trump’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Announcing the termination of U.S.-South Korean military drills, Trump said it would save the U.S. “a tremendous amount of money.” The Pentagon later said the Korea drills would have cost $14 million.
Responding to Trump’s tweets this morning, District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser said the estimate her office gave for the parade was $21.6 million.
“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),” tweeted Bowser, a Democrat.
D.C.’s estimate is in line with the $10 million to $30 million cost calculated back in February by Trump’s own budget director Mick Mulvaney. The figure for D.C. included $13.5 million for police, $3.6 million for fire and paramedics, and $2.3 million for transportation services.
Echoing a suggestion by Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning, Trump tweeted that parade planning could begin again in 2019.
“Maybe we will do something next year in D.C. when the cost comes WAY DOWN,” he wrote. “Now we can buy some more jet fighters.”
Not waiting for his own parade appetite to be sated, however, Trump said he plans to “attend the big parade already scheduled at Andrews Air Force Base on a different date, & go to the Paris parade, celebrating the end of the War, on November 11th.”