According to President Donald Trump, the White House is thinking about having a “really great parade to show our military strength” that will “try and top” France’s Bastille Day parade.
The joint press conference at the UN on Monday between Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron began kindly enough. “France is a great country, it’s a beautiful country,” said Trump. “I won’t soon forget our dinner on top of the Eiffel Tower where we really got to know each other.”
Things began derailing when Macron deployed his exclusively-for-Trump, death-grip handshake. After three seconds, Trump released. Macron did not. Macron forced one more shake upon the American president’s limp hand before releasing.
“Thank you, Donald,” said Macron, taking a leaf from Secretary Hillary Clinton’s book by choosing not to refer to the president as Mr. Trump or President Trump.
Macron then explained in French, a language Trump doesn’t speak, what the two presidents would talk about in their meeting, including “safety,” “fighting against terrorism,” and “the Paris Accords.” Earlier in the conference, Trump had forgotten (or simply didn’t know) what the two would talk about. (“We have a lot of things to talk about, we’ll be discussing, uh, many different elements.”) Whether it was because of the handshake, the language, the Paris Accords, or knowing the schedule, Trump felt compelled to retake the spotlight.
“Well thank you very much Emmanuel,” began Trump. “I was your guest at Bastille Day, and it was one of the greatest parades I’ve ever seen.” He applauded the “military might” of the parade as a “tremendous thing.” And then made his announcement: “Because of what I witnessed, we may do something like that on July 4th in Washington down Pennsylvania Avenue.” Journalists and officials laughed; Macron chuckled and smiled widely. “I don’t know,” Trump continued, “we’re going to have to try and top it.”
Trump made no promise of what year the parade would happen, but he said he was speaking with General Kelly, his Chief of Staff, and “all of the people involved” to try and do it this year.
In response, Macron thanked the president for coming to France for the celebration.
This is not the first time Trump has wanted a military parade. It was reported he wanted one for his inauguration, and he told the Washington Post he wanted one back in January. “That military may come marching down Pennsylvania Avenue. That military may be flying over New York City and Washington, D.C., for parades. I mean, we’re going to be showing our military.”