Trump Wanted Separate 'Victory Day' Holiday Because July 4th 'Is Too Hot,' Mattis' Speechwriter Says in Book

Donald Trump reportedly said in 2017 he wanted a separate holiday—a "Victory Day" featuring a military parade—because the "Fourth of July is too hot," according to a former speechwriter for the president's first secretary of defense.

On Monday, Politico published a detailed account of Trump's first Pentagon briefing about America's military and diplomatic interactions around the world. The article, written by Guy Snodgrass, the former chief speechwriter for Jim Mattis, depicts Trump as unfocused during the defense secretary's presentation about American deployment abroad. Instead, while Mattis sought to explain the role of U.S. military forces stationed across the globe, Trump wanted to discuss his recent visit to France.

During his trip to Paris in July 2017, Trump witnessed the country's Bastille Day military parade, in which tanks travel down the Champs-Élysées to commemorate the start of the French Revolution.

As Mattis spoke, the Politico article said, Trump interjected to talk about his trip. "I want a Victory Day. Just like Veterans Day. The Fourth of July is too hot," the president reportedly said. "I want vehicles and tanks on Main Street. On Pennsylvania Avenue, from the Capitol to the White House. We need spirit! We should blow everybody away with this parade. The French had an amazing parade on Bastille Day, with tanks and everything. Why can't we do that?"

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Amid extensive scrutiny from critics, Trump held his long-discussed military parade this past July. The Associated Press reported that the parade cost an estimated $5.4 million, with $2.45 million coming from the Interior Department. The Defense Department paid $1.2 million, according to the AP.

While the president referred to the event as "remarkable," Democratic members of Congress railed against the cost of the parade, describing it as an inexcusable use of taxpayers' dollars. Other critics, like Walter Shaub, who served as director of the Office of Government Ethics during Barack Obama's presidency, raised questions about whether Trump would provide special treatment to some of his supporters.

"Hey Congress, you good with Trump letting the [Republican National Committee] hand out VIP tickets to a taxpayer-funded event as a reward for big campaign donors? Are we the country that lets a politician use the military as a fundraising prop for his reelection?" Shaub tweeted.

The proposal for the military parade also highlighted differences of opinion between Mattis and Trump, according to the Politico article. Though Mattis reportedly said he would look into Trump's parade request, he also expressed concerns about the cost and optics of such an event.

Those tensions re-emerged this month. During an October 16 meeting with Democratic leaders, Trump reportedly took a shot at his former defense secretary, calling Mattis "the world's most overrated general."

Although Mattis told NPR last month that he wouldn't discuss his relationship with Trump, the general changed course after Trump's reported comments.

"I earned my spurs on the battlefield.... Donald Trump earned his spurs in a letter from a doctor," he quipped on October 17 at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, poking fun at the president's military deferment that kept him out of Vietnam.

Trump
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence listen during a conference call with the International Space Station on October 18. Win McNamee/Getty Images
Trump Wanted Separate 'Victory Day' Holiday Because July 4th 'Is Too Hot,' Mattis' Speechwriter Says in Book | News