While Democratic lawmakers are fuming over President Trump’s apparent desire for a military parade down Pennsylvania Avenue, some top Dems were marching to a different tune just a few years ago.
In 2014, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called for a welcome home ticker-tape parade for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, calling it a “longstanding American tradition.”
“With the war in Afghanistan winding down, now is the time to keep with longstanding American tradition and kick off a campaign for the first New York City welcome home parade for troops that served in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Schumer, now the Senate minority leader, said, according to The New York Daily News.
The Daily News reported that Schumer sought approval from the Defense Department for a parade down the city’s Canyon of Heroes featuring military brass, color guards, bands and flyovers.
The New York idea and what is being contemplated in Washington have their differences. While Schumer sought more of a public thanks for the troops, Trump purportedly is looking for a display of military machinery, inspired by the French Bastille Day parade. He reportedly floated the idea of a similar parade in the U.S. as a way to honor the Armed Forces.
Such parades are rare in the U.S., but not unheard of. The last one took place in 1991 under then-President George H.W. Bush.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Wednesday the White House hasn’t “made a final decision” on holding the parade but Trump is “exploring” different ways to highlight the country’s pride for the military.
But the news had Democrats thinking less of France — a U.S. ally frequently admired by the American left — and more of North Korea.
“In the past, we have held military parades to celebrate major national events such as the Gulf War or the end of World War II, as achievements by the American people who fought in and supported those efforts. A military parade like this — one that is unduly focused on a single person — is what authoritarian regimes do, not democracies,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said according to Politico.
“Because authoritarian regimes like Russia and North Korea hold massive military parades does not mean that we must as well,” fellow California Democrat Ted Lieu said.
In the nation’s capital, the Democratic-controlled D.C. Council indicated they would put the brakes on any such effort, and implied that President Trump (and by extension, French President Emmanuel Macron) was a despot.
“Despots call their opponents traitors and treasonous,” Phil Mendelson, the chairman of the D.C. Council, tweeted. “And despots like military parades. A military parade in our District of Columbia is not part of our country’s democratic ideals.”
The plans also got a mixed reception from conservatives. Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., said that “America is the most powerful country in all of human history; you don’t need to show it off.”
Meanwhile, former NAVY Seal and Fox News contributor Rob O’Neill called the idea “third-world bulls—.”
But Schumer wasn’t the only Democrat who once backed a military parade.
Liberal New York Mayor Bill de Blasio backed Schumer’s call at the time, saying the Big Apple would proudly host such an event:
“The brave men and women who have selflessly served our nation with courage and skill in Iraq and Afghanistan deserve a recognition for their sacrifice,” de Blasio said. “I stand with Senator Schumer in his call for a parade to honor our veteran heroes, and New York City would be proud to host this important event.”
More recently in 2017, de Blasio floated another parade, only for himself.
“When I think about how crime’s gone down for four years, graduation rates up, test scores are up, more jobs than ever in our history — I think, Wow, just that quick profile, any candidate anywhere would want it,” Hizzoner told New York Magazine in September.
“You’d assume they’d be having parades out in the streets.”
Fox News’ Alex Pappas contributed to this report.