Senator: Trump's military parade would be 'a fantastic waste of money'


Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., balked at the potential cost of President Donald Trump's desired military parade on Wednesday, calling the concept a "fantastic waste of money to amuse the president."

"Take the money that the president would like to spend on this parade [and] instead, let's make sure our troops are ready for battle and survive it and come home to their families," Durbin, the Democratic minority whip, said on MSNBC.

The Washington Post first reported Tuesday that during a January 18 meeting between the president and top generals at the Pentagon, Trump said he wanted a grand military parade that would roll through the streets of Washington — and that his desire was heard as a presidential directive. A Pentagon spokesman confirmed to NBC News Tuesday that it was looking at dates for a possible military parade that could take place in Washington in November.

More on military parades: 

18 PHOTOS
Military parades around the world
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Military parades around the world
Newly inaugurated U.S. President Donald Trump (in red tie), first lady Melania (L), Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen (R) preside over a military parade during Trump's swearing ceremony in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar
The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly over the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel during the traditional Bastille Day military parade in Paris, France, July 14, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Four Mirage 2000C and one Alpha jet flight over Paris, France, on their way to participate in the Bastille Day military parade, July 14 2016. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Russian servicemen march during the Victory Day parade, marking the 71st anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, at Red Square in Moscow, Russia, May 9, 2016. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A F-16 fighter jet from the Royal Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Black Knight aerobatics team leaves a smoke trail over the Marina waterfront during National Day Parade celebrations in Singapore August 9, 2008. REUTERS/Karishma Singh (SINGAPORE)
Indian police "Daredevils" motorcycle riders perform during the Republic Day celebration in Jammu, January 26, 2018. REUTERS/Mukesh Gupta
Soldiers march during a military parade to celebrate the 206th anniversary of Venezuela's independence in Caracas, Venezuela, July 5, 2017. REUTERS/Marco Bello TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Indian Army combat vehicles are displayed during the Republic Day parade in New Delhi, India January 26, 2018. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi
North Korean soldiers march during a military parade marking the 105th birth anniversary of the country's founding father Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Members of the Honour Guard and the central military band of the Mongolian armed forces perform during the International Military Music Festival "Spasskaya Tower" media preview in Red Square in Moscow, Russia, August 26, 2016. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Troops wave Mexico's flags during a military parade celebrating Independence Day at Zocalo Square in downtown Mexico City, Mexico, September 16, 2017. REUTERS/Henry Romero TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Missiles are driven past the stand with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and other high ranking officials during a military parade marking the 105th birth anniversary of country's founding father Kim Il Sung, in Pyongyang April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Military vehicles carry DF-10 ship-launched cruise missiles as they travel past Tiananmen Gate during a military parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Beijing Thursday Sept. 3, 2015. REUTERS/Andy Wong/Pool
Singapore's President Tony Tan (C) watches as tanks roll past during Singapore's Golden Jubilee parade at Padang near the central business district August 9, 2015. Singapore marks 50 years of independence on Sunday. An island of 5.5 million people that sits just north of the equator, what was a post-colonial backwater at independence from Malaysia in 1965 is now a global business hub whose economic and social model is the envy of nations around the world. REUTERS/Edgar Su
Servicemen march during a military parade marking Ukraine's Independence Day in Kiev, Ukraine August 24, 2017. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves to people attending a military parade marking the 105th birth anniversary of country's founding father Kim Il Sung, in Pyongyang April 15, 2017. Towards the end of every parade, it is tradition for the North Korean leader to come to the edge of the balcony from where he watches the proceedings and wave to foreign and local dignitaries sitting on either side of the building. The photographers and cameramen file photos to the Korean Central News Agency, North Korea?s official state news outlet. The photographer on the far right has his hair styled in a similar way to Kim Jong Un, a common refrain amongst his bodyguards, aides and the photographers which surround him. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj SEARCH "PARADE WID" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Tanks pass in front of the presidential tribune during the traditional Bastille day military parade on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, France, July 14, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Moscow - Russia - 09/05/2017 - Russian President Vladimir Putin, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Russian ground forces commander Colonel-General Oleg Salyukov walks along Red Square after the Victory Day military parade marking the World War II anniversary, in Moscow. REUTERS/Yuri Kochetkov/Pool
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An estimated sticker price for the parade has yet to be revealed, but Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, tweeted Tuesday night that "a military parade costs millions."

"Let's fix military housing, hire more VA doctors, fund telehealth, DOD schools, support the commissaries, daycare for families, or give more flight training time," he said.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the parade would be a "celebration" where Americans could show their support for the military.

"President Trump is incredibly supportive of America's great service members who risk their lives every day to keep our country safe. He has asked the Department of Defense to explore a celebration at which all Americans can show their appreciation," she said.

Durbin, however, said there is a better way to spend the money that would still show the country's appreciation.

"Let's put money into the quality of life and military families who sacrifice with our men and women in uniform," Durbin told MSNBC. "And finally, let's make sure that we're doing something to stop the waiting lines in veteran's hospitals. That's a good way to put money, taxpayers' money — investing in our troops, investing in our veterans instead of the amusement of the president."

President George H. W. Bush held a military parade in Washington on June 8, 1991, to mark victory in the Persian Gulf War. At the time it was called the biggest victory celebration in Washington since the end of World War II, with a crowd of around 200,000.

Trump has previously discussed his love of displaying military might. He was reportedly very impressed by a parade he witnessed in Paris to celebrate Bastille Day last year, which the president attended as a guest of French President Emmanuel Macron. The parade also commemorated the 100th anniversary of the United States' entry into World War I in 1917.

More from Trump's visit to France

22 PHOTOS
President Trump, Melania Trump take part in Paris Bastille Day celebration
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President Trump, Melania Trump take part in Paris Bastille Day celebration
U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump attend the traditional Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, France, July 14, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Platiau TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
(From L) French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe speaks to U.S. First Lady Melania Trump, next to U.S. President Donald Trump during the traditional Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris, France, July 14, 2017. REUTERS/Christophe Archambault/Pool
French President Emmanuel Macron shakes hands with U.S. President Donald Trump as First Lady Melania Trump looks on after the traditional Bastille Day military parade in Paris, France, July 14, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman
U.S. troops, with soldiers wearing WWI helmets, march past French President Emmanuel Macron, his wife Brigitte Macron, U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump during the traditional Bastille day military parade on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, France, July 14, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Platiau
French President Emmanuel Macron (C) greets U.S. President Donald Trump, next to U.S. First Lady Melania Trump and Macron's wife Brigitte Macron (2ndR) during during the traditional Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris, France, July 14, 2017. REUTERS/Christophe Archambault/Pool
U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump attend the traditional Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, France, July 14, 2017. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
French President Emmanuel Macron (R) and his wife Brigitte Macron (2ndR) walk with U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. First Lady Melania Trump after the traditional Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris, France, July 14, 2017. REUTERS/Christophe Archambault/Pool
French President Emmanuel Macron kisses U.S. First Lady Melania Trump as his wife Brigitte Macron looks on and next to U.S. President Donald Trump at the end of the traditional Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, France, July 14, 2017. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes
U.S. President Donald Trump (C) shakes hands near U.S. First Lady Melania Trump (2ndL), Brigitte Macron (R), wife of the French President, Senate Speaker Gerard Larcher (C Rear) and French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe (L) as they arrive to attend the annual Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, France, July 14, 2017. REUTERS/Christohpe Archambault/Pool
French President Emmanuel Macron, his wife Brigitte Macron, U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump walk on the Place de la Concorde at the end of the traditional Bastille Day military parade in Paris, France, July 14, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman
U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump stand in front of the American flag at the end of the traditional Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, France, July 14, 2017. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes
U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump attend the traditional Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, France, July 14, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Platiau
French President Emmanuel Macron, his wife Brigitte Macron, U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump attend the traditional Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, France, July 14, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman
French President Emmanuel Macron (L) and US President Donald Trump stand in front of the US national flag held by soldiers, at the end of the annual Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris on July 14, 2017. The parade on Paris's Champs-Elysees will commemorate the centenary of the US entering WWI and will feature horses, helicopters, planes and troops. / AFP PHOTO / ALAIN JOCARD (Photo credit should read ALAIN JOCARD/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (C) bids farewell, flanked by French President Emmanuel Macron (upL) and his wife Brigitte Macron (upR) as he leaves the annual Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris on July 14, 2017. The parade on Paris's Champs-Elysees will commemorate the centenary of the US entering WWI and will feature horses, helicopters, planes and troops. / AFP PHOTO / ALAIN JOCARD (Photo credit should read ALAIN JOCARD/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (L) and First Lady Melania Trump board Air Force One prior to departing Paris Orly Airport on July 14, 2017, following a two-day trip for France's Bastille Day. Bastille Day, the French National Day, is held annually each July 14, to commemorate the storming of the Bastille fortress in 1789. This years parade on Paris's Champs-Elysees will commemorate the centenary of the US entering WWI and will feature horses, helicopters, planes and troops. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
(RtoL) US First Lady Melania Trump, US President Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron, stand in front of the US national flag held by soldiers, at the end of the annual Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris on July 14, 2017. The parade on Paris's Champs-Elysees will commemorate the centenary of the US entering WWI and will feature horses, helicopters, planes and troops. / AFP PHOTO / ALAIN JOCARD (Photo credit should read ALAIN JOCARD/AFP/Getty Images)
French President Emmanuel Macron (C-L) shakes hands with US President Donald Trump, next to Macron's wife Brigitte Macron (L) and US First Lady Melania Trump, during the annual Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris on July 14, 2017. The parade on Paris's Champs-Elysees will commemorate the centenary of the US entering WWI and will feature horses, helicopters, planes and troops. / AFP PHOTO / POOL AND AFP PHOTO / CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT (Photo credit should read CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (2nd R) shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron (2nd L) and his wife Brigitte Macron (L), next to US First Lady Melania Trump, during the annual Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris on July 14, 2017. The parade on Paris's Champs-Elysees will commemorate the centenary of the US entering WWI and will feature horses, helicopters, planes and troops. / AFP PHOTO / POOL AND AFP PHOTO / CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT (Photo credit should read CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP/Getty Images)
Brigitte Macron, wife of French President, (L) speaks with US First Lady Melania Trump (R) during the annual Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris on July 14, 2017. The parade on Paris's Champs-Elysees will commemorate the centenary of the US entering WWI and will feature horses, helicopters, planes and troops. / AFP PHOTO / ALAIN JOCARD (Photo credit should read ALAIN JOCARD/AFP/Getty Images)
French President Emmanuel Macron (L) shakes hands with US First Lady Melania Trump (R) next to US President Donald Trump during the annual Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris on July 14, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / ALAIN JOCARD (Photo credit should read ALAIN JOCARD/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump speaks with US First Lady Melania Trump (R) during the annual Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris on July 14, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / ALAIN JOCARD (Photo credit should read ALAIN JOCARD/AFP/Getty Images)
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