A military parade ordered by US President Donald Trump for later this year has been postponed until at least 2019, a defence official said on Thursday, following reports the cost had soared to more than $90 million. The announcement was seen as a setback for the president, who had ordered the show of hardware after being impressed by France's Bastille Day parade last year. The idea had been popular among many Americans but drew scorn from critics, who said it would be a waste of money and was akin to events organised by authoritarian regimes. "The Department of Defence and White House have been planning a parade to honour America's military veterans and commemorate the centennial of World War I," said Colonel Rob Manning, Pentagon spokesman. "We originally targeted November 10, 2018 for this event but have now agreed to explore opportunities in 2019." Donald Trump was impressed by France's annual Bastille Day parade Credit: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters When the White House in February announced the commander-in-chief's desire to hold the parade in Washington, the budget director said it would cost between $10 million and $30 million. But a US official told AFP earlier on Thursday that the planning estimate had now gone as high as $92 million, though no final figure has been reached. The request for the event came after Mr Trump's visit to France in July 2017, where he was hosted with great fanfare by French President Emmanuel Macron. Sitting on the Champs-Elysees during the Bastille Day parade, the American president had marvelled at the Republican Guard on horseback and jets flying overhead. Donald Trump and his wife Melania during the Bastille Day celebrations in 2017 Credit: AFP He had initially hinted at plans to transform America's Independence Day celebrations - usually associated with fireworks and barbecues - on July 4 into a vast military. "To a large extent, because of what I witnessed we may do something like that on July Fourth in Washington down Pennsylvania Avenue," he said in September 2017. Even before becoming president, aides reported that Mr Trump had considered a military parade to mark his inauguration - although that idea was eventually scrapped. Mr Trump has also embraced a military backdrop for several speeches and presidential visits. However, he received deferments from carrying out military service of his own during the Vietnam War. Donald Trump speaks to Navy and shipyard personnel aboard the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Gerald R Ford last year US 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. "We will be stopping the war games, which will save us a tremendous amount of money," Mr Trump said in June after meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. It later emerged that the drills cost about $14 million, a fraction of the price of a military parade. Others suggested the money could be better spent improving the lives of destitute veterans. "Until such time as we can celebrate victory in the War on Terrorism and bring our military home, we think the parade money would be better spent fully funding the Department of Veteran Affairs and giving our troops and their families the best care possible," said Denise Rohan, the American Legion's national commander. The United States normally holds military parades to mark the end of a conflict, such as in 1991 when president George HW Bush held a National Victory Parade in Washington to celebrate the end of the first Gulf War.
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