- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 19, 2018

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said Sunday he believed there were factors other than the District of Columbia’s high price tag for President Trump’s decision to scratch his long-sought military parade.

“First of all, if the parade had been cancelled purely for fiscal reasons, I imagine I would have been in the room when that decision was made and I wasn’t,” Mr. Mulvaney said on “Fox News Sunday.” “So my guess is there were other contributing factors.”

Mr. Trump accused District officials of attempting to gouge the federal government with an exorbitant price tag on the parade planned for Veterans Day in November to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I.

District officials denied the charge, while Mayor Muriel Bowser swung back Friday by tweeting that she “finally got thru to the reality star in the White House with the realities ($21.6M) of parades/events/demonstrations in Trump America (sad).”

Mr. Mulvaney said that the $20 million figure was a number “I’m not familiar with,” and “The numbers that I saw from the city were much higher than that.”

“I like the mayor, she seems like a nice lady, but face it: This is a city that voted probably 70, 80 percent against the president,” he said. “So to think that maybe the city council of Washington, D.C., is not trying to help the president accomplish what he wants to accomplish shouldn’t be news to anybody.”

There were reports that the parade could cost as much as $92 million, although Defense Secretary James Mattis dismissed that figure, telling reporters, “I’m not dignifying that number with any reply.”

Congress authorized the parade in the National Defense Authorization Act signed last week by Mr. Trump. The Defense Department’s initial cost estimate was $12 million.

Mr. Trump, who has said he was inspired by his viewing last year of France’s Bastille Day military parade, said he will instead attend a previously scheduled parade at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland and mark end of the World War I at the Nov. 11 parade in Paris.

“The local politicians who run Washington, D.C. (poorly) know a windfall when they see it,” Mr. Trump tweeted 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 didn’t rule out the idea of holding a U.S. military parade at some point, saying he may revisit the plan next year “when the cost comes WAY DOWN!”

The last U.S. military parade was held in 1991 to celebrate the end of the first Gulf War, featuring about 8,000 troops marching through the streets of the District, along with M-1 tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles, Tomahawk cruise missiles, and flyovers.

The event, which ended with an evening fireworks display, drew a crowd of about 800,000 by the end of the day and cost about $12 million, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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