US President Donald Trump today said he would attend a November celebration in Paris marking the end of World War I, hours after a military parade planned for the same time in Washington was postponed over soaring costs. The Pentagon's portion of that tab was as high as $50 million, which would pay for equipment, troops, flyovers and support staff, the official said.
"A great celebratory parade costs money, Mr Trump, and it's YOUR Pentagon that's suggesting more than $90 million".
A Defense Department spokesman told USA TODAY earlier Thursday finals plans for the parade have not yet been approved and that costs could still change.
The parade, slated for November 10, is estimated to cost $92 million, the official said.
President Trump was first drawn to the idea of having a military parade in the USA after attending France's Bastille Day celebration a year ago in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron.
The president added: "Now we can buy some more jet fighters!" But by early Thursday afternoon, when news broke the cost would be almost eight times the original projection. It includes security, transportation of parade assets, aircraft, temporary duty for troops, as well as tanks. Mattis himself said late Thursday that he had seen no such estimate and questioned the media reports.More news: Bristol couple defend Ben Stokes' actions | West Country
Trump has also embraced military backdrop for several speeches and presidential visits.
The parade's budget director had offered an estimate of between $10m (£7.8m) and $30m (£23.6m) when the White House announced its request in February. His staff is planning the parade along a route from the White House to the Capitol, and would integrate it with the city's annual veterans' parade.
The last military parade held in the nation's capital ran in 1991, after the end of the Gulf War.
U.S. media were quick to highlight how the ballooning costs of the proposed parade stood in contrast to his concern about the expense of conducting joint military exercises with South Korea.
In September, Trump met with French President Emmanuel Macron and recalled how much he enjoyed watching the parade.