Yesterday’s killing of Donald Trump’s much-wanted military parade has all the signs of being a planned hit.
In case you don’t know, CNBC reported early yesterday afternoon that the cost of Trump’s parade had risen to $92 million from the original estimate of just $12 million. That 767 percent increase at least unofficially classified the parade as a federal budget boondoggle and made it into an even bigger subject of ridicule than it was before.
Even on a day when Aretha Franklin died, Omarosa released a new recording, there were multiple reverberations from John Brennan’s security clearance being revoked and the Manafort jury began deliberating, the $92 million cost made immediate news and lit up the twitterverse.
About seven hours later, The Washington Post and others reported that the parade, which had been planned for this November 10th, would now be postponed until sometime in 2019.
In other words, a leak (there was no official release of the revised cost estimate and absolutely no reason for the new number to be revealed yesterday) from someone inside the executive branch about the extraordinary increase in the cost of the parade quickly forced the White House to back down from one of Donald Trump’s pet projects.
The Pentagon didn’t say that Trump’s parade was cancelled, just that it had “…agreed to explore opportunities in 2019.” Left unsaid was that it will be harder to stage the parade next year because the already-high budget deficit will be even higher — close to or in excess of $1 trillion — and there could very well be a Democratic majority in one or both houses of Congress that will stop it from happening.
So while the White House and Pentagon may be implying that Trump’s parade was merely postponed, the more likely truth is that it was killed yesterday and won’t be heard from again.
The Pentagon is the most likely suspect for this murder. DOD, which will bear the vast majority of the costs and responsibilities for staging the parade, has long been opposed to it and has gone along with the planning only to appease a president who doesn’t often take no for an answer. DOD is the one that will benefit the most from the parade not happening.
The second possibility is that it was conspiracy between a member of Congress who didn’t want the parade to happen but was unwilling to challenge the president directly and the Pentagon.
A third possibility is that the leak came from the White House staff that has increasingly looked for ways outside the normal process to rein in Trump’s over-the-top tendencies.
Either way, it had to be someone on the inside.
Follow Stan Collender on Twitter @thebudgetguy.