Fact Check

Is President Trump Planning a Military Parade for the Fourth of July?

As in the past, it's unclear whether a military parade will in fact materialize.

Published Feb. 13, 2019

 (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Image Via AP Photo/Evan Vucci
President Trump is planning a military parade for the 4th of July in 2019.
What's True

U.S. President Donald Trump has publicly expressed interest in holding a parade on 4 July 2019.

What's Undetermined

As plans are in their early stages, it's unclear exactly what will materialize. In his latest remarks, Trump did not specify the parade would include the military.

On 12 February 2019, President Donald Trump addressed Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) David Bernhardt in regards to a parade, or gathering, dubbed "Salute to America," to be held on the upcoming Independence Day holiday. At the beginning of the meeting, Trump stated:

Thank you all for being here. Before we begin, we’re thinking about certain things that we’re just starting to look at. David Bernhardt is, as you know, going through the process — becoming Secretary of Interior, from Acting. He’s done a fantastic job. And I think it will continue, and we look forward to that.

We’re thinking about doing, on the 4th of July or thereabouts, a parade. A “Salute to America” parade. It will be a — really, a gathering, as opposed to a parade, I’d guess you’d have to say. Perhaps at the Lincoln Memorial. We’re looking at sites. But we’re thinking about doing something, which would become, perhaps, a tradition. “Salute to America” on July 4th or July 4th weekend. Somewhere around that area.

And, David, you’re taking charge of that and you’ll see how it works out with schedules and everything else. And I think it could be a very exciting day. And the fireworks is there anyway, so we just saved on fireworks. We get free fireworks because it’s already being done. (Laughter.) So, that’s very good.

Trump's remarks generated a bit of a media stir, including a headline in the New York Post that read, "Trump wants his huge military parade on Fourth of July." Perhaps because Trump has fruitlessly floated the idea of a military parade in the past, readers questioned whether another one was truly in the works.

We contacted the Department of Interior to ask what plans for a potential "Salute to America" event were afoot, and we were instructed to direct questions to the White House, with a DOI spokesperson stating, "We are working diligently to present the best options to the White House." Our email to the White House press office was not answered.

It's no secret Trump has wanted a military parade since witnessing and being impressed by 14 July 2017 Bastille Day festivities on a visit to France. Making one materialize has so far been a non-starter. On 6 February 2018 — a year before today's writing — the Washington Post broke the original story that the Trump administration was in the early stages of planning a military parade for some point in time, in conjunction with the Defense Department.

But in late summer 2018, Trump backed away from the plan, citing the astronomical cost associated with it, with the New York Times reporting administration officials suffered "sticker shock after seeing a Pentagon estimate that soared as high as $92 million to pay for the troops, fighter jets, armored vehicles and other military hardware that would be mustered to satisfy the president’s dream of displaying American might."

On July 1, 2019, Trump announced that military tanks would be part of a celebration piggybacking on an already-existing annual July 4th celebration put on by Washington, D.C.'s, local government, which includes fireworks, a music concert, as well as a parade in which uniformed members of the military participate. Trump is planning to speak at the event 2019 event, which is expected to include military flyovers. Protesters are also expected to attend the event.


Fredericks, Bob.   "Trump Wants His Huge Military Parade on Fourth of July."     New York Post.   12 February 2019.

The White House.   "Remarks by President Trump in Cabinet Meeting."     12 February 2019.

Jaffe, Greg and Phillip Rucker.   "Trump’s ‘Marching Orders’ to the Pentagon: Plan a Grand Military Parade."     The Washington Post.   6 February 2018.

Sullivan, Eileen.   "Citing Costs, Trump Retreats from Massive Military Parade in Capital."     The New York Times.   17 August 2018.

Bethania Palma is a journalist from the Los Angeles area who has been working in the news industry since 2006.

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