RNC chairman Reince Priebus announced the national committee will cover the costs of keeping the World War II Memorial open for the next month, after the National Park Service put up barricades at the instructions from the Obama administration’s budget office during the government shutdown. Priebus called on his Democratic counterpart, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, to join him in the effort.
“The RNC has put aside enough money to hire five security personnel to keep this memorial open to veterans and visitors for the next 30 days,” Priebus said in front of the memorial this afternoon. “The Obama administration has decided they want to make the government shutdown as painful as possible, even taking the unnecessary step of keeping the Greatest Generation away from a monument built in their honor.”
Since Tuesday’s start of the government shutdown, the open-air memorial in the middle of the National Mall has been closed by the National Park Service. WWII veterans who’d been brought to the capital by Honor Flights, a nonprofit dedicated to flying veterans from each state to visit their respective memorial in Washington, had to break down barricades to enter the area yesterday. The White House maintains that the memorial will be open to groups of WWII veterans scheduled to visit it, saying the shutdown guidelines allow for permitted “First Amendment activity.”
Meanwhile, the American Center for Law and Justice, a conservative constitutional-law firm, threatened to take legal action against the Obama administration for blocking off the memorial, calling it ”a disturbing violation of the First Amendment rights of our nation’s heroes” and “morally inexcusable.” The ACLJ said it will file a federal lawsuit seeking an injunction against the government’s behavior.