Trump wants the pomp without the usual circumstance
Trump is more a creature of instinct than calculation. My guess is that both his narcissism and his authoritarianism are at play in his need to honor himself with a parade.
Despite his boastful tweetstorms, the president clearly realizes that his approval ratings are historically low. He is so unpopular that he will not even risk a state visit to London to open the new U.S. embassy there for fear of being humiliated by mass protests. The campaign-style rallies he so enjoys do not appear well-designed to advance a political agenda; they do, however, boost his spirits and massage his ego.
Imagine all the love he would feel while reviewing a miles-long parade whose participants all had the sworn duty to show him respect as commander-in-chief. He would be saluted and serenaded to his heart's content. It would be an egomaniac's heaven.
Trump's big parade would also be a massive display of power -- not so much the nation's as his own. There is not a soul on earth who doubts the overwhelming strength of the U.S. military. I can think of one soul, however, who is insecure enough in his own authority that he accuses members of Congress who do not stand and applaud him of treason.
Trump seems shocked to learn that the legislative and judicial branches do not have to do whatever he says. The military marching bands do, though.
Eugene Robinson's email address is email@example.com.
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