WASHINGTON - U.S. President Donald Trump has ordered Pentagon and White House officials to begin planning a military parade in Washington similar to the Bastille Day parade he witnessed in Paris in July, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday.
At a meeting at the Pentagon on Jan. 18 that included Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Joseph Dunford, Trump said he wanted a military parade, the Post reported, citing a military official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
"The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France," the military official said, according to the Post. "This is being worked at the highest levels of the military," the official added.
After the Post published its story, the White House issued a statement that said Trump "has asked the Department of Defense to explore a celebration at which all Americans can show their appreciation."
A White House official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the parade planning was in the "brainstorming" stage and nothing had been decided, the Post reported.
The Pentagon was aware of a request for a parade but was only just starting to explore possibilities, including on timing, a Pentagon spokesman told Reuters.
Trump has said he was impressed by the military parade he watched in Paris on July 14. U.S. and French soldiers marched together to mark 100 years since the United States entered World War One and France's annual Bastille Day holiday. It included tanks, armored vehicles and a flyover of U.S. and French military jets.
"To a large extent because of what I witnessed, we may do something like that on July 4 in Washington down Pennsylvania Avenue," Trump told reporters in September. "We're actually looking into it."
The U.S. capital has held large military displays to mark significant occasions, including victories in war, but rolling tanks and marching troops down Pennsylvania Avenue are not typically done on the U.S. Independence Day holiday.
(Writing by Eric Beech; Additional reporting by Phil Stewart, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)