Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., tells Newsmax TV he is working on legislation to get the group of motorcyclists who rally yearly on Memorial Day for Veterans to have the same status as the USO after they were denied staging rights in the Pentagon parking lot this year.
Organizers of Rolling to Remember say the event will happen even without a staging area. But the move by the Pentagon, blamed on COVID restrictions, comes as the Biden administration issued a National Day of Prayer proclamation that failed to mention God and as Capitol Police denied a traditional gathering at the U.S. Capitol for the National Day of Prayer.
"Now this is all very much an odd play for a guy who campaigned on returning America to normal," Chris Salcedo, host of "The Chris Salcedo Show" told Issa.
"In 30 years and six presidents, has anyone considered telling those people who come on Memorial Day to remember our POWs and MIAs and those who died in service for their country," Issa began, noting that the the motorcycle riders got permits from the Department of Transportation, Department of the Interior, Maryland, the District of Columbia and Virginia.
"And then [they] were denied the use of the Pentagon parking to assemble for the first time in decades by this president," Issa said. "It's unconscionable, and it has to change."
"[The Pentagon] said that they have been tracking the spread of COVID-19 within the Northern Virginia area," Joe Chenelly, National Executive Director for AMVETS, which took over organizing Rolling to Remember, told WTOP. “And they looked at the nature of our event, which is a fairly large gathering that … everyone would be outside, but they said considering those things that they were going to deny it at this point."
The Pentagon offered to move the event to Labor Day, but Chenelly said that wasn't an option for AMVETS.
Organizing at RFK Stadium was another option, but the group was unable to get the OK in time to put the word out to participants.
Since the USO and other groups who serve on behalf of the men and women who serve their country are allowed standing for such events, "We should do no less for this organization," Issa said.
Simply filing the legislation might cause the administration to "back off," he said, "But if they don't, then there's no question at all, this will pass on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis. Most Democrats feel as I feel that those who stand in harm's way and serve some of whom never come home or come home battered and broken deserve this day to be special, especially in our nation's capital. It has been for decades it will be again under this legislation."
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