Former president Donald Trump once ordered US military officials to exclude combat-wounded soldiers from the Soviet-style military parade he wanted held during his term in the White House, according to a new book by two veteran Washington reporters.
In an excerpt from their forthcoming chronicle of Mr Trump’s presidency, The Divider, journalists Peter Baker and Susan Glasser reveal that Mr Trump got the idea for a military parade when he witnessed Bastille Day festivities during a 2017 visit to France.
The authors reported that Pentagon officials were not enthused with the idea, which one general said was more akin to the dictatorship he fled as a child than the government he had spent a lifetime serving as an adult.
But Mr Trump pressed on with the idea to replicate France’s annual parade, save for one feature he disliked.
According to Mr Baker and Ms Glasser, Mr Trump told US defence officials: “Look, I don’t want any wounded guys in the parade — this doesn’t look good for me”.
His then-chief of staff, retired Marine general John Kelly, tried telling him that wounded veterans were “the heroes”.
“In our society, there’s only one group of people who are more heroic than they are — and they are buried over in Arlington,” said Mr Kelly, whose own son was among those buried across the river at the country’s most hallowed military cemetery.
But Mr Trump was not moved.
“I don’t want them. It doesn’t look good for me,” he said.