Bush-Era Official: Trump Should Invite Russians In His Parade Since Putin Is His Key Campaign Backer

Richard Painter, the former top ethics lawyer in the administration of President George W. Bush, is mocking President Trump’s proposed military parade, tweeting Wednesday that Russian president Vladimir Putin should be invited to send a delegation, The Hill reported.

“As a key campaign backer, Putin should be invited to send a platoon of soldiers to march in the parade,” Painter tweeted.

Painter, a vice-chairman of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, is one of a growing number of lawmakers, former administration officials and other figures weighing in against Trump’s parade. His Putin joke refers to Moscow’s 2016 election meddling, which the intelligence community believes was carried out with the intention of helping to elect Trump.

The Pentagon and White House on Wednesday confirmed reports that planning for a parade in Washington, D.C., is underway, after The Washington Post reported a day earlier that Trump had given “marching orders” to Pentagon officials to plan the event.

Trump has brought up the prospect of a military parade several times during his presidency, and reportedly told officials he wants a celebration “like the one in France,” referring to the Bastille Day parade in Paris he witnessed last year.

Critics, both Democrats and Republican, have said that a parade would be unnecessary, could send the wrong message and appear “totalitarian.”

GOP Sen. John Kennedy (La.) said Wednesday that America does not need to “show off” its military power because “everybody knows we have it.”

“We’re not North Korea, we’re not Russia and we’re not China, and I don’t want to be,” Kennedy said.

And Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), who earned a Purple Heart for her service in Iraq, said troops overseas don’t need “a show of bravado” as much as strong support at home.

“This parade would not only waste millions of taxpayer dollars, it would also cost our military precious time and resources,” Duckworth said in a statement.

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