American sensibilities were rocked Tuesday when the New York Times reported that White House and Pentagon officials had been ordered to plan “a grand military parade” for President Trump. Two sources told The Times that Trump met with top generals last month at the Pentagon, where they began to draw up the plans.
The meeting was also attended by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joe Dunford. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, himself a former military general, is said to be involved with the ongoing plans. The discussions were supposed to remain confidential, but the sources leaked the plans to the The Times.
While his current coterie of generals seems perfectly happy to give President Trump the trappings of a military dictator – something he’s dreamed about since his inauguration – other senior officers aren’t willing to sit idly by as the commander in chief makes a mockery of our men and women in uniform.
After reading the New York Times report, retired Army Major General Paul D. Eaton released a scathing statement on VoteVets.org, and he didn’t mince words.
“Donald Trump has continually shown himself to have authoritarian tendencies, and this is just another worrisome example,” his barrage opens. He was just getting warmed up.
“For someone who just declared it was ‘treasonous’ to not applaud him, and for someone who has, in the past, admired tactics of everyone from Saddam Hussein to Vladimir Putin, it is clear that a military parade isn’t about saluting the military – it’s about making a display of the military saluting him.”
“The military is not Donald Trump’s to use and abuse in this way,” Eaton’s statement continues. “Our military is the very best in the world – they are not to be reduced to stagecraft to prop up Donald Trump’s image.”
“Any commander in chief who respects the traditions of the military would understand that. Unfortunately, we do not have a commander in chief, right now, as much as we have a wannabe banana republic strongman.”
You can read the entire statement in its original format below.
Retired Major General Paul Eaton says @realDonaldTrump's parade idea underscores his authoritarian tendencies, and that our military is not there to be "used and abused" to prop up his image.
VoteVets full statement on Trump's orders for a military parade. pic.twitter.com/Am7uSSWZfo
— VoteVets (@votevets) February 7, 2018