First reported by the Washington Post, the proposal has been met with strong opposition from Congressional Democrats and lukewarm feelings from Republicans.
The president has long expressed interest in having a large-scale military parade in the nation's capital, complete with marching soldiers and tanks rolling down the streets, after witnessing the Bastille Day celebrations during his recent trip to France. It could happen in early November and possibly coincide with the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
Whitehouse: Well, I think a lot of Americans remember images of the Soviet May Day parade that was not an image that we much associate with the United States of America.
The cost of shipping Abrams tanks and high-tech hardware to Washington could run in the millions, and military officials said it was unclear how they would pay for it.
The Washington Post first reported Tuesday that Trump expressed his desire for a military parade at a January 18 meeting between Trump and top generals, and his desire was heard as a presidential directive.More news: Asparagus can unfold most cancers, say scientists
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"We're all aware in this country of the president's affection and respect for the military", Mattis said.
"We're going to have to try to top it", Trump told the French president.
VoteVets, a veterans advocacy group, tweeted a statement from retired Major General Paul Eaton, who said the parade was "just another worrisome example" of Trump's "authoritarian tendencies".
Those who are comparing Trump's potential military parade with the Tiananmen Square standoff.
U.S. Senator John Kennedy (R-Louisiana) blasted the idea of a parade, suggesting it would represent insecurity rather than a show of strength for the nation's armed services already known around the world as the most advanced and biggest. He said the Pentagon has been "putting together some options" for the parade to send to the White House.
Trump's decision to plan such a grand event is not exactly sudden.