Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner laughed off concerns Thursday about Trump’s proposed military parade.
Asked by KOA radio hosts if he was concerned about the parade’s $20 million price tag, Gardner quipped, “Look, as long as they let Michael Dukakis drive a tank, I’m fine with it.”
After a round of laughter at Gardner’s reference to a disastrous 1988 photo op of then presidential candidate Michael Dukakis in a M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank, radio host Marty Lenz asked Gardner, “Do the optics of that give you any concern, Senator?”
“If people are wound up about a parade, there are a lot more important things to get wound up about,” he replied.
“But you see North Korea and some of these other countries having parades,” pressed Lenz. “Does it just not look good for us to do that?”
“I think this country is proud of its military. We ought to be proud of our military,” said Gardner, a Republican, on air. “The cost is certainly a problem. There are ways to bring down that cost. We’ve got to make sure our economy is strong. We have got to fix trade. We should be worrying about North Korea. We’ve got to protect our men and women in uniform.
“The last thing America ought to be worrying about is 76 trombones in a parade.”
Trump came up with the parade idea after seeing a military parade on Bastille Day in France.
But the president faces criticism on the grounds that military parades are not part of American custom, but instead are often, but not exclusively, a hallmark of authoritarian regimes.
“A lot of countries have histories of longtime military conquest and the power and strength of the military supporting the government, but since our inception that has not been who we are,” Retired Army Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling told TIME magazine. “We’re the only nation in the world that defends a piece of paper. An ideology. And to say we’re going to strut our stuff with tanks and rocket launchers and things like that, is just not a good representation of what the military does in a democratic nation.”
Listen to Gardner on KOA’s Colorado’s Morning News here: