Donald Trump Did Not Request Tanks and Missile Launchers for the Inauguration Parade

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Donald Trump

The Claim:

The Huffington Post reported on January 19, 2017, that Donald Trump and his inaugural team requested the presence of high-powered, military grade weaponry including tanks and missile launchers to parade through Washington D.C. on inauguration day.

The Verdict:

The Huffington Post is one of the foremost partisan, disinformation websites online. “Disinformation” refers to the publication of intentionally false data meant to deceive. One needn’t dig very deep to find HuffPost’s stunning propaganda campaign against Donald Trump. In November, the site published probabilities of Hillary Clinton’s election at 98.1% and featured numerous polls that were absurdly inaccurate.

The claim that Donald Trump wanted to host a North Korea-style gallery for his inauguration is a highly unsubstantiated claim that makes Trump sound a bit more like Kim-Jong Un than the leader of a Western nation. So, in other words, it’s propaganda.

While it is true that several Trump requests were made to the government regarding inaugural day features such as U.S. Air Force flyovers, no fly zones, heightened Coast Guard monitoring, additional secret service measures, and upgrades to the presidential limousine, it isn’t true that Trump requested 100,000 pound tanks to roll through the streets behind him. The Huffington Post also misused the following Trump comment published in the Washington Post to claim that he planned bring tanks in for the inauguration: “That military may come marching down Pennsylvania Avenue. That military may be flying over New York City and Washington, D.C., for parades. I mean, we’re going to be showing our military,” he added.1 HuffPost writer Jessica Schulburg references this as evidence that Trump was planning to usher in the biggest and most lethal of toys now under his control. But the comment in the Washington Post had nothing to do with the inauguration. Clearly, HuffPost is, again, distorting the truth.

HuffPost then proceeds with a rather amusing description of Trump’s parading plans, and they literally aren’t joking:

…according to several sources involved in his inaugural preparations, Trump has endeavored to ensure that his first day as commander-in-chief is marked by an unusual display of heavy military equipment. During the preparation for Friday’s transfer-of-power, a member of Trump’s transition team floated the idea of including tanks and missile launchers in the inaugural parade, a source involved in inaugural planning told The Huffington Post. ‘They were legit thinking Red Square/North Korea-style parade,” the source said, referring to massive military parades in Moscow and Pyongyang, typically seen as an aggressive display of muscle-flexing’.”2

As with many noteworthy fake news stories, dubious sources are referenced. Comments like “a source involved or “a source said should always trigger a question about the validity of the source and whether the writer is telling the truth. And “they were legit thinking Red Square/North Korea-style parade.” Yes, HuffPost really said that. And we’re embarrassed for them.

The showcasing of military at the inauguration is not extraordinary. Thousands of veterans and active military personnel participate every four years. It is up to the elected president to decide how much or little military involvement he wants. Outgoing Obama had little military participation and no flyovers. Incoming Trump, on the other hand, has openly championed and praised the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force on a number of occasions. Expanding military budgets, improving the VA, and promoting health treatment for veterans were among the most significant promises of his campaign. It isn’t surprising at all to see the military take such a prominent role in his inauguration.

1 Tumulty, Karen. How Donald Trump came up with Make American Great Again. The Washington Post. 18 January, 2017.
2 Schulberg, Jessica.  “Trump Sought Military Equipment for Inauguration, Granted 20-Plane Flyover.” The Huffington Post. 19 January 2017.