WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump may get his parade after all. Just don’t call it a parade.
Trump said Tuesday that he's exploring the idea of holding a parade called "Salute to America" around July 4. The Lincoln Memorial is under consideration for the event, which he said would be more like a "gathering." He'd also like the event to become a tradition.
"We're thinking about doing, on the 4th of July or thereabouts, a parade. A 'Salute to America' parade," Trump said at the White House. "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."
Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt was put in charge of planning what Trump said "could be a very exciting day."
The president said a bonus will be fireworks at no extra charge: Fireworks paid for by the National Park Service already illuminate the sky above the Washington Monument each year on the Fourth of July.
"We get free fireworks because it's already being done," Trump said, "so that's very good."
The Pentagon postponed the parade following reports its price had ballooned to $92 million.
Trump’s interest in a parade was piqued after he attended a French military procession in central Paris in 2017. He had wanted to see tanks and other military hardware rolling down Pennsylvania Avenue on Veterans Day last year, but senior administration officials halted planning after seeing the estimated $92 million price tag. The date also conflicted with Trump’s return to Paris last November to help observe the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
The new event would appear to have its own set of complications.
For one, July 4 is a major deal in the nation's capital. There are multiple parades, including along Constitution Avenue. There's also an annual concert on the West Lawn of the Capitol, broadcast live by PBS and immediately followed by the annual fireworks show.
Hundreds of thousands of people stream to Washington every year to celebrate the nation's founding.
Last year, Trump staged a separate, nationally-televised concert from the White House lawn for the military and other guests. It was unclear Tuesday whether the White House would hold that concert again this year.
The White House did not provide a cost estimate for the new event.