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Trump says will attend November WWI parade in Paris

French President Emmanuel Macron (L) clasps hands with US President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, DC on April 24, 2018.
French President Emmanuel Macron (L) clasps hands with US President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, DC on April 24, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
2 min

US President Donald Trump on Friday 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.

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Trump tweeted he had in fact canceled that event, blaming local politicians for charging a "ridiculously high" price and vowing to "attend the big parade already scheduled at Andrews Air Force Base on a different date, & go to the Paris parade, celebrating the end of the War, on November 11th."
 

"Maybe we will do something next year in DC when the cost comes WAY DOWN," the US president said, adding: "Now we can buy some more jet fighters!"

Trump had ordered a show of military prowess after marveling at France's Bastille Day parade last year -- but the idea drew scorn from critics, who said it would be a waste of money and akin to events staged by authoritarian regimes such as North Korea.

A US official told AFP on Thursday the planning estimate had soared as high as 81 million euros, though no final figure has been reached.
 

"The local politicians who run Washington, D.C. (poorly) know a windfall when they see it," Trump said Friday.
 

"When asked to give us a price for holding a great celebratory military parade, they wanted a number so ridiculously high that I cancelled it."
 

"Never let someone hold you up!" he added.

Defence Secretary Jim Mattis has denied the cost estimate of 81 million euros.

"Whoever told you that is probably smoking something that's legal in my state but is not in most states," said Mattis, from Washington state where pot is legal.

He told reporters he had yet to be given a cost estimate for the event.

Editor's Note: This article was updated with quotes from US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis.

(With AFP)
 

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