Friday, August 17, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He blamed the Washington, D.C. city government for not letting him have a $92 million parade.

Trump has for some time been obsessed with the idea of a Washington, D.C. parade featuring tanks and missiles. He tried to have one thrown together on short notice for his inauguration, but military officials said no. (Most Americans associate the kind of parade Trump has in mind with authoritarian regimes like North Korea or the Soviet Union.) The idea took root in his mind again after he witnessed a Bastille Day parade in France--so much so that he was still bringing it up in unrelated discussions months later.

First-pass guesses at the cost of holding such a parade on Veterans' Day of this year came in at $10-12 million, apparently raising Trump's hopes that he could force it to happen in spite of the fact that actual veterans were overwhelmingly against the idea. But more thorough estimates came in at $92 million. 

Trump immediately canceled the parade plans, blaming the local Washington, D.C. government for the rise in costs, and accusing the city of trying to gouge the federal government. (The city government of Washington, a majority-black city, is overwhelmingly Democratic, making it a convenient political scapegoat for Trump.)

In reality, according to a Pentagon official, $50 million of the costs came directly from the Department of Defense, and the other $42 million would have covered direct costs (mostly for security) to the federal, city, and nearby state and local governments. 

Why does this matter?

  • Inability to handle disappointment is not a sign of good mental health.
  • Tantrums are not presidential.
  • It's wrong to lie.
  • Parade planning isn't a good use of a president's time or emotional resources.