President Donald Trump has instructed government officials to start planning for a massive military parade to take place in Washington, D.C., sometime this year, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.
The Pentagon confirmed the Post’s report on Tuesday. “We are aware of the request and are looking at possible dates,” Pentagon spokesman Charlie Summers told reporters, according to NBC.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters Wednesday that the Pentagon is “putting together some options” for the parade, saying that it reflects Trump’s “respect and fondness for the military.”
Trump, who has never served in the armed forces and avoided the Vietnam War draft on account of bone spurs, has long dreamed of showing off the United States’ military prowess in a large public display.
After he won the presidential election, Trump’s staff confounded officials by asking the Pentagon to send photographs of military tactical vehicles that he might include in his inaugural parade.
Confronted with the potential image of tanks and missile launchers rolling down Pennsylvania Avenue, some worried it might resemble the massive military parades in North Korea, a source involved in inaugural preparations told HuffPost last year. They were also concerned that the heavy tanks could damage D.C. roads.
But the president appears to have had better luck with his vision the second time around.
“The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France,” a military official told the Post. “This is being worked at the highest levels of the military.”
Trump attended a Bastille Day celebration in Paris last year as a guest of French President Emmanuel Macron and reportedly walked away “awestruck.”
“It was one of the greatest parades I’ve ever seen,” Trump, seated next to Macron, told reporters at the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September. “It was two hours on the button, and it was military might, and I think a tremendous thing for France and for the spirit of France.”
“We’re going to have to try to top it,” he added.
Officials have yet to decide on a date for the parade, the Post reported, though Veterans Day on Nov. 11 is currently a strong contender. Trump has reportedly said he hopes the display would run along Pennsylvania Avenue and pass by Trump International Hotel.
This article has been updated with comments from Mattis.
Marina Fang contributed reporting.