President Donald Trump sought to cast blame Friday for the cancellation of his planned military parade on Washington city council officials, saying they had inflated the cost.
Soon after the President tweeted, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser claimed she “got thru” to Trump about costs for the parade, which at one point was calculated to run about $12 million but more recent estimates said could run as high as $92 million by the time Trump canceled the event.
“The local politicians who run Washington, D.C. (poorly) know a windfall when they see it. 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,” Trump tweeted Friday morning.
The President said he will instead “attend the big parade already scheduled at Andrews Air Force Base on a different date, (and) go to the Paris parade, celebrating the end of the War, on November 11th.”
He added, “Maybe we will do something next year in D.C. when the cost comes WAY DOWN. Now we can buy some more jet fighters!”
Bowser, the Democratic mayor of Washington, DC, responded on Twitter to Trump Friday, saying that she is “the local politician who finally got thru to the reality star in the White House with the realities” of holding a military parade.
She said the event would cost more than $21 million.
Bowser’s office later provided a breakdown of the city’s cost estimate for hosting a military parade, which included a $13.5 million price tag for the city’s police department and the need for expenses like crowd control, security and traffic perimeters, and protection for dignitaries.
A city official added that the Trump administration requested an estimate from the city this week.
Funds to cover the event would have needed to come from the federally funded Emergency Planning and Security Fund, which normally covers the security funds for events in the nation’s capital like a presidential inauguration or this past weekend’s Unite the Right rally.
But the amount allocated this year for such events was far smaller than the additional amount that would be required to cover the parade. It is likely, according to the official, that the administration would need to request additional money from Congress.
On Thursday, the Pentagon announced that it was postponing the parade until next year. Earlier in the day, CNBC and ABC News, citing unnamed officials, reported that the cost estimate of the parade — which was estimated in July to cost approximately $12 million — had swelled to $92 million.
An administration official told CNN that the $92 million figure was a planning estimate for an event that would meet Trump’s intent, and that about half of that amount is for non-military costs like security, some of which would involve the city of Washington.
A second official said the costs covered by the military were about $50 million.
It is still not clear what other expenses brought the total estimated cost for the parade to $92 million.
Defense Secretary James Mattis on Thursday said that the reports of a $92 million tab were inaccurate and that he has “received no such estimate.” Officials told CNN that Mattis had not yet been briefed on the latest cost estimates when he made his comments, noting that the costs could still change as no final decisions about what units, equipment and personnel would take part.
Trump had said back in February that a military parade in Washington would be “great for the spirit of the country,” but would need to come at a “reasonable cost.”