“It was two hours on the button and it was military might.”
This was President Donald Trump’s reaction to witnessing France’s Bastille Day parade on July 14th. In a meeting this week with French President Emmanuel Macron, Trump praised France’s public displays of strength and patriotism as “tremendous,” even suggesting that he might be planning a similar demonstration for next year’s 4th of July celebration in Washington D.C.
This four-minute video of the press conference, released by the White House on Monday, shows a conversation that wound wildly through a variety of topics. To start, Trump brags on Macron’s behalf for what he calls, “one of the great election victories of all time,” going onto say that he is, “respected by the French people, and… the people of the United States.”
After discussing parades, Trump decided to bring up the budget. He explained that the U.S. is, this year, spending $700 billion more on the military than ever in the past. This was intended, perhaps, to validate his desire for a parade. According to The New York Times, the last major military parade in the U.S. was in 1991, celebrating the end of the Persian Gulf War.
In a time when right-wing nationalism has become the norm in politics, a fully-fledged military demonstration could mean dangerous things, whether in France or the United States. Let’s hope that Donald Trump is more interested in elaborate plane choreography than in its possible implications.