• During his presidency, Trump wanted to hold a big military parade in the nation's capital.
  • After attending France's Bastille Day celebration, he decided he wanted a lavish parade for the Fourth of July.
  • A top general, however, told him it's a move that dictators make, an excerpt from a forthcoming book said. 

The second highest-ranking US general told former President Donald Trump that his idea for a big military parade in Washington, DC, is "what dictators do," a new report said. 

Trump, as has been previously reported, crafted the idea for a military parade after witnessing a lavish Bastille Day celebration in Paris in 2017. He wanted to top it with one of his own during the Fourth of July holiday. 

Top US generals and officials, however, were less thrilled about the idea, according to an excerpt from a forthcoming book by journalists Susan Glasser and Peter Baker that was published Monday by the New Yorker.

James Mattis, then Trump's defense secretary, said he would "rather swallow acid," and other officials said it would cost millions and damage the roads.

At one White House meeting, when Trump addressed his idea with Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, then the second highest-ranking general as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the general suggested the idea was reminiscent of something often seen in dictatorships.

When Trump asked Selva what he thought of the parade, Selva responded that he grew up in Portugal, which "was a dictatorship — and parades were about showing the people who had the guns."

"And in this country, we don't do that," Selva said, according to the report. "It's not who we are."

Trump then asked Selva if he didn't like the idea, to which he responded: "No," adding that "it's what dictators do."

The US has held some military parades in DC in the past, most recently in 1991 after America's victory in the Gulf War. After facing pushback on his plans, Trump held a "Salute to America" event on the Fourth of July in 2019 that prominently featured a military flyover and some static military vehicle displays but no tanks in the streets.

Throughout his time in the White House, Trump often expressed admiration for dictators or authoritarians like Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping — leaders who hold massive military parades each year. Political scientists who specialize in authoritarianism often warned that Trump's rhetoric and lack of respect for democratic norms emboldened such leaders

Fiona Hill, who served as the top Russia expert on the National Security Council under the Trump administration, in comments to the Daily Beast last year said that Trump has a bad case of "autocrat envy."

"He also really liked kings and queens," Hill went on to say of Trump. 

Read the original article on Business Insider