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Rounds questions the purpose of Trump's proposed military parade

U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds attends an event in 2017 at Dakotafest in Mitchell. (Republic file photo)

If President Donald Trump has his way, tanks and jets will parade through the nation's capital on July 4, a show of force not seen since 1991. But U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds isn't as excited.

During a call with reporters Thursday, Rounds was elated over the bipartisan budget deal unveiled by the Senate the day prior, particularly the impact it will have on defense spending. And after arguing in favor of military funding hikes despite the negative impact it could have on the federal deficit, he quickly balked at the idea of a military parade in Washington, D.C.

"And if this is done in such a fashion that we're actually honoring our armed forces, and for the right reasons, I would have no objection," Rounds said. "But I'd want to know what it's for, what the purpose is."

Rounds often uses media conferences to express his commitment to funding the military, and he recently spent a day in Flandreau for the Purple Heart Medal ceremony of Sylvan Vigness, a World War II veteran who had been seeking his Purple Heart for decades. Rounds said honoring the military is good, but asked what would be the purpose of a military parade in the capital.

According to C-SPAN, the 1991 National Victory Celebration Parade marking the victory of the Persian Gulf war cost $12 million. And while the next parade might already be in the works, Rounds said it's not a priority.

"Personally, it's not on the top of my list," Rounds said.

As for any possible deficit hike sparked through defense funding increases, Rounds countered a reporter by arguing that a strong military sends a message not to challenge America. And, Rounds suggested, intimidating opposition can help avoid long-term conflicts.

"The cost of a major conflict, or of a war, would overwhelm our budget," Rounds said. "... And that doesn't even count the most important aspect, which is the cost of human life and the danger that it puts our young men and women in."