Trump's controversial military parade postponed to 2019

Trump's controversial military parade postponed to 2019

In this file photo taken on May 30, 2016, participants ride a WWII Jeep in front of the White House during the Memorial Day Parade on Constitution Avenue in Washington, DC. AFP

US President Donald Trump said on Friday he would attend a November celebration in Paris marking the end of World War I -- hours after the Pentagon announced it was postponing the military parade that Trump had ordered.

The Pentagon late on Thursday said the event, originally scheduled for November 10 in Washington, was being pushed back to a possible date in 2019, after it emerged costs could soar as high as $92 million.

However, Defence Secretary Jim Mattis scoffed at the cost estimate and attacked the media for reporting the number. "Whoever told you that is probably smoking something that's legal in my state but is not in most states," said Mattis, from Washington state where pot is legal.

"Whoever wrote it needs to get better sources... I guarantee you there's been no cost estimate to me," he told reporters travelling with him in South America.

Trump on Friday said he had in fact pulled the plug because local politicians were charging a "ridiculously high" price, and he vowed to go to a different event already scheduled for a military base near Washington and "go to the Paris parade, celebrating the end of the War, on November 11th."

"Maybe we will do something next year in DC when the cost comes way down," the US president said, adding: "Now we can buy some more jet fighters!"

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser hit back at Trump, sarcastically emulating his characteristic Twitter tone in a message of her own.

"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 tweeted.

Trump Inspired by French military pararde

Trump had ordered a show of military prowess after marvelling at France's Bastille Day parade last year -- but the idea drew scorn from critics, who said it would be a waste of money and akin to events staged by authoritarian regimes such as North Korea.

A US official told AFP on Thursday the planning estimate had gone as high as $92 million, though no final figure has been reached.

"The local politicians who run Washington, DC (poorly) know a windfall when they see it," Trump said on Friday.

"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!" he added.

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