October 2nd, 2013
04:25 PM ET
1 year ago

RNC offers to pay for WWII memorial guards

Washington (CNN) – The Republican National Committee is offering the United States government a check to pay for guards at the National World War II Memorial, chairman Reince Priebus announced Wednesday.

"We're willing to pay the bill," said Priebus, who was speaking to reporters as he stood in front of a fence at the memorial.

The memorial had been the site of a dramatic encounter Tuesday between visiting World War II veterans and a fence erected to keep visitors out. The National Parks Service argued the government shutdown left them with no personnel to guard and maintain the open air memorial.

According to Priebus, the RNC is willing to pay for five guards who would watch over the memorial, what the party committee estimated to be a $150,000 expenditure for 30 days, Priebus said.

Priebus also invited the Democratic National Committee to help pay for the proposed security at the memorial.

The memorial fence has become a flashpoint in the shutdown debate, with Democrats blaming Republican intransigence for forcing all national parks, including the memorial on the National Mall, to close down.

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The DNC quickly responded to the Republican proposal by calling it a "stunt."

"We've already been working on a plan to open the Memorial - and the entire government - after the GOP caused them to close. It's called a clean funding resolution and it sounds like the votes are there if the Speaker would just call for a vote," DNC Communications Director Mo Elleithee said in a statement.

"It would save the economy a lot of money and get the Memorial and government open a whole lot faster. I think he probably has Speaker Cruz Boehner's number somewhere, and I'll bet veterans would appreciate it a whole lot more than his silly stunt."

Democrats have accused Boehner of weak leadership, cowtowing to tea party Republicans led in part by Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

Republicans in turn have blasted President Barack Obama's administration for closing off open air memorials that do not have staff 24/7, but that visitors can walk up to any hour of the day.

Priebus accused the administration of wantonly keeping out the World War II veterans.

"It was the Obama administration's choice to block this memorial," Priebus said.

"The president himself promised to veto legislation that would keep our monuments open," he said, in reference to the piecemeal funding measures introduced yesterday in the GOP-dominated House of Representatives. Those measures, which would have funded national parks, veterans' benefits and the Washington, D.C. local government, failed to get the two-thirds majority they needed to pass Tuesday.

Obama has promised to veto any piecemeal funding legislation and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said the approach was not serious. Senate Democrats have managed to hold firm against anything other than a "clean" funding resolution that provides money for the entire government, including Obamacare.

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Priebus said donors to the RNC would be "happy" to fund guards for the memorial.

"Our donors have had it with a stubborn Democratic party who've been offered one deal after the next by the Republicans in the House," Priebus said.

Priebus charged that Democrats "don't want to keep the parks open," he said. "They want to make it painful."

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For now, it appears that the World War II and other memorials will remain closed, albeit with far less effort made at keeping people out.

"Without staff or funding to ensure the safety of visitors, the security of the memorials, and the continued operation and maintenance of park facilities, the memorials on the National Mall – just like Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon – are closed," National Park Service Spokeswoman Carol Johnson said in a statement.

"The Honor Flights are being granted access to the WWII memorial to conduct First Amendment activities in accordance with National Park Service regulations applicable to the National Mall and Memorial Parks."

Honor Flights is a non-profit organization that provides free transportation to aging military veterans who want to visit the World War Two Memorial.

soundoff (135 Responses)
  1. Lisa P.

    I would be a lot more impressed if Mr. Priebus promised to cut off all that nice RNC campaign cash for any House or Senate member who votes against bringing a clean continuing resolution to a straight up or down open vote. He should stop pretending that the RNC has no power to do anything but paper over one very small but very obvious effect of certain GOP congresscritters' obstinance, stupidity and self-involvement - it makes him look as idiotic as he and his corporate backers seem to think we the people are. Cut off the cash and watch all those "principled" political stands against the ACA vanish like the nonsense they've always been.

    October 2, 2013 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  2. Cc

    Pres Obama says he will absolutely not negotiate w/ republicans on funding the govt. What a petulant little man we have in the White House. What does he expect when the opposition party runs the House. Republicans are doing what they were elected to do. A funding bill was passed. . Like it or not he's going to have to negotiate. Grow up and be a leader for once. Obama's second term is already a failure.

    October 2, 2013 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  3. Sean e brewer

    The way the RNC chief stated the POTUS was responsible for closing down the WWII memorial and keeping veterans out was repellent and completely over the top. As a decorated veteran, historian, and political scientist who retired from the military last year, please let me state for the record that preibus isn't fooling anyone, and those citizens who've done their homework know exactly where the blame for the shutdown lies. Be a hero, mr RNC, and urge your caucus to uphold its constitutional duties.

    October 2, 2013 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  4. rosethornne

    Send the Koch brothers the bill for all the government functions their paid lackeys in Congress have shut down.
    After all, why not? They got their obscene mountains of cash by gutting taxpayers, buying politicians, and warping the nation's laws into an unrecognizable freakshow.

    October 2, 2013 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  5. JoeR

    Posturing and garbage, their going to use a little of the Koch/Murdock bribes to try and cover up a little of the stink they are making.

    October 2, 2013 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  6. American Worker

    Thank you.
    But will the President and the Senate try to block it since it's being done through a private fund?

    October 2, 2013 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  7. jon

    Civil war is going on. we are divided!

    October 2, 2013 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  8. El Lobo

    The rep-cess-pol-publicans need to pay for oh so many things. So much needs to be taken our their hides. Certain people need to be brought up on war crimes and crimes against humanity would be a start. That would only be down payment on there crimes. Oh they have so much to pay for

    October 2, 2013 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  9. Shirley Calvert

    The unmitigated gall and hubris of the House Republicans to shut down so many government agencies then stand in front of the World War II Memorial waving a check and wagging their boneless tongues about how they are going to pay for security personnel to keep the memorial open. Do they think we are stupid??? Do they think we do not know they manufactured this shutdown as they have done in the past, and will certainly do in the future??? I have watched their underhanded, diabolical tactics for too many years now not to recognize that this entire mess we are in has the fingerprints of that right, corporate fascist-leaning ALEC (The American Legislative Exchange Committee) plastered all over it. Until this country ends the flood of money into our political system from the corporate robber barons and their well-organized ALEC cells that fund the Republican Tea Party we can expect to see our democratic system continue to deteriorate. Billions of dollars can buy a lot of airways and spread an enormous amount of propaganda to low-information voters. We increasingly are seeing the results of a political system run amok with greed, corruption and an ego-maniacal need for absolute control.

    October 2, 2013 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  10. Mary

    I don't understand how Republicans continue to say over and over again that Democrats won't negotiate. What is there to negotiate????? The Affordable Healthcare Act is a law that is already passed and upheld by the Supreme Court so how is it possible to negotiate something that is already finite? This is absurd, we wouldn't be in this position if the Republicans hadn't put us in this position in the first place, funding the government has nothing to with "Obamacare".

    October 2, 2013 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  11. Jason

    What a joke. The Republicans lead us to the brink of disaster because of their inability to accept the fact their message is a failure and suddenly the find something sacred to appeal to the basest emotions. One would hope Americans are smarter than this but doubtful.

    October 2, 2013 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  12. James

    I am done with this pandering to the Republican cause. If this "news" outlet wishes to report on such obvious ploys of the Republicans to act like they are trying to do something for the people I will no longer read from this source. By the way are they really planning to pay the guards a thousand dollars a day because if so hire me. Do the math, that is what five guards for thirty days comes to with the rnc's estimate of 150,000.

    October 2, 2013 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  13. Dave in Arizona

    First, how pathetic. First they create the problem then coming dancing in offering to solve it.

    Second, $150,000 for 5 guards for 30 days? Seriously? That's $30k for each of them for one month of work. Since when do security guards get that kind of money?

    October 2, 2013 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  14. RomneyWho

    Now comes the bribes and hush money . . . Will these Son's of the Devil ever draw the line? :(

    October 2, 2013 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  15. all for memorials

    It should be noted that the Republicans were the party that blocked the memorial to 5 million WWI Veterans when Senator Toomey blocked HR 6364 The Frank Buckles Memorial act and robbed the bill of his name on New Years Eve. Oh BTW it was a zero tax dollar bill.

    October 2, 2013 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  16. Anthony in California

    The WW2 Memorial should DECLINE this offer. Its insulting, considering the Republicans caused this mess in the first place.

    October 2, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  17. steveeyes

    Same old Same old GOP...they create the crisis than campaign on it. They block jobs than campaign on NO JOBS, they wreck the economy than campaign on the weak economy. I'm disgusted with the GOP. It isn't the grand old party any more...it is a party for the wealthy and traitors to middle class.

    October 2, 2013 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  18. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    That's not going to save you in 2014 midterms , the GOP caused this whole fiasco with their tea bafoon stooges!!!!!!

    October 2, 2013 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  19. Tom

    Oh, how very noble of the RNC! They want to pay out of their own pockets for guards at a memorial so forget about the people they hurt with their xenophobic policies.

    October 2, 2013 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  20. don

    This is what should be done to cut spending. Defense should be this great country's biggest expense.

    October 2, 2013 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  21. Quang

    This Republican Party is disgusting. They themselves shut down the government then have the gall and audacity to show their pathetic faces and pretend like they care. What's even sadder is the millions of ignorant, bigoted, brainwashed masses that can't see through this obvious lie. Shame on America for voting these people to congress. And shame on Bonher for being cattle prodded into falling into step into this abyss.

    October 2, 2013 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  22. Jm

    So you have the workers laid off, then you want to bring your own SCABS in!! What is wrong with this picture

    October 2, 2013 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  23. Joe

    Its all a ploy. The RNC are nothing but wolves in sheep's clothing!

    October 2, 2013 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  24. Time for no party

    What do you expect the Democratic Party won't compromise at all and blame the republicans. The republicans then to get heard need to pull stunts to get people's attention. What was the bill that got us to this point? Reid didn't want to give the common Americans the same extensions Obama has given big business. He also wanted to make sure that he and his fellow democrats got to keep the 75% substidy that Obama granted them. We are here because the democrats thought a shutdown would wok at hiding their true agenda. Remind you Reid is the one that said that the affordable Heath act is so great that congress will go on it. Then when the time comes whines to Obama for a break. It's time we all wake up and through out both partys. The government should work for us and not their special interest.

    October 2, 2013 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  25. Federal 'servant'

    I would have loved to be a fly on the wall at the RNC headquarters discussing this stunt! Using WW II vets is shameless!

    October 2, 2013 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
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