October 13th, 2013
02:00 PM ET
9 years ago

Rallier tells Obama to 'put the Quran down'

Updated 3:37 p.m. ET, 10/13/2013

Washington (CNN) – Angered by the closure of national landmarks due to the partial government shutdown, a crowd of conservatives removed barricades Sunday at the World War II Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial as they rallied against President Barack Obama and Democrats for their role in the ongoing stalemate.

High-profile speakers with close ties to the tea party appeared at the event, including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

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The rally, billed as the "Million Vet March on the Memorials," drew far fewer than a million people and evolved into a protest that resembled familiar tea party events from 2009, with yellow "Don't Tread On Me" flags throughout the crowd and strong anti-Obama language from the podium and the audience.

One speaker went as far as saying the president was a Muslim and separately urged the crowd of hundreds to initiate a peaceful uprising.

"I call upon all of you to wage a second American nonviolent revolution, to use civil disobedience, and to demand that this president leave town, to get up, to put the Quran down, to get up off his knees, and to figuratively come out with his hands up," said Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch, a conservative political advocacy group.

Shutdown drags on: 'It's taken far too long'

On the first day of the government shutdown, October 1, a group of World War II veterans was barred from entering the open-air memorial. But with the help of a few Republican members of Congress, the veterans removed the barricades and streamed onto the site, as security guards stood aside.

The Department of Interior has since said that veterans with the Honor Flight program will be permitted to visit the memorial as part of their First Amendment rights, but otherwise the site is closed to the general public until the government reopens.

Veterans groups to push to end government shutdown

Cruz, the senator who's become the face of the Republican stance in the shutdown, attacked the Obama administration for fencing off the memorial and other national monuments, saying the closures were nothing but a political ploy.

"This is the people's memorial. Let me ask a simple question. Why is the federal government spending money to erect barricades to keep veterans out of this memorial?" he asked. "Our veterans should be above politics. Enough games."

Demonstrators removed the barricades Sunday at the rally, tossing them into a pile nearby. After the speeches, the crowd wandered down to the nearby Lincoln Memorial and removed its barriers as well. When some officers tried to put them back up, protesters took them from the officers' hands and carried them away from the memorial.

"You look around though and you see these barricades and you have to ask yourself, is this any way that a commander in chief would show his respect, his gratitude to our military? This is a matter of shutdown priorities," Palin said.

RNC offers to pay for WWII memorial guards

Anti-Obama sentiments echoed throughout the crowd Sunday, with one protester yelling out "punk" to describe the president and one speaker saying Obama is not the president of "the" people but "his" people. Multiple signs read "Impeach Obama."

Asked last week whether the White House had any say in the closure of the World War II Memorial, spokesman Jay Carney said Republicans were at fault.

"Every House Republican who has decried any impact from this shutdown, as if they were surprised that it would happen, clearly didn't pay attention when every agency of the federal government posted on their websites ... what would happen if the government were shut down, including the closing of national memorials and national parks," he said at a press briefing.

"If any member of Congress who got in front of a television camera to try to get some attention on this issue spent half that time on the floor of the House voting to open the government, we wouldn't have a problem," he added.

Photo by Brian Rokus

Later on Sunday, some people from the rally walked over to Pennsylvania Avenue carrying the barricades and dumped them in front of the White House. While they gathered peacefully for the most part, some were more vocal and shouted at police on horseback. "You work for us," some chanted.

At one point, some pushing and shoving took place as police in riot gear began to put up some barricades in front of part of the White House fence.

Tourists were also among the mix Sunday, taking pictures as normal, while others simply came out of curiosity.

Ashley Killough wrote; Shannon Travis and Brian Rokus reported from the National Mall and the White House. CNN's Jim Acosta also contributed from the White House.

Filed under: President Obama • Tea Party • Washington
soundoff (2,570 Responses)
  1. Sammy

    I am a veteran and I find the Republican rhetoric to be very unpatriotic. The reason why the FEDERAL memorials are closed is because there is no staff to keep the memorials safe from vandals and no one to clean or make repairs. These memorials are national treasures and require staffing. Does no one remember the incident of the woman spraying monuments with spray paint over the summer? If it were not for the staff, the vandal would not have been caught. Republicans seem to think that everyone, who is not themselves, does not deserve to be paid for what they do. The people who operate the parks and other services work just like they do and deserve to be paid. To encourage people to rip down safety barriers is asinine. Yes, lets get crowds up and rowdy so they do damage and possibly attack police. How about getting your rear end back in your conference rooms and actually getting things done.

    October 13, 2013 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  2. Tammy L in Arizona

    Its time for the people to stand up and back up our President! We allowed a hand full of crazed tea party loons to get that close to the white house and our president! remove barricades and go wherever they want!! really?
    I believe its time to counter rally these whack jobs and in numbers and force, let them know they are the minority. Someone needs to organize counter rallies in Washington and send a message to our President that he is not alone.

    October 13, 2013 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  3. Ken

    You, CNN continue to be a disservice to your country by presenting these anti-American tea crazies and anything other that terrorists. I pay the same taxes as the vets. My national parks are closed because of Republican terrorists.

    Everything is closed when you starve the beast. Get it? Stop the hostage taking and fund the government.

    October 13, 2013 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  4. Raj

    So, there are already plenty of idiots that are actually being the rhetoric that the shutdown is Obama's fault.

    October 13, 2013 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  5. Bob

    Sometimes I like to imagine how a President should lead our country in a crisis: for some reason, the person I imagine acts nothing like Obama.

    October 13, 2013 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  6. Meghan

    How sad. How very sad. As a veteran myself, I find it disgusting to think that these people have the audacity to claim to have fought for freedom for everyone when that is clearly not the case. While it is very important to note that Obama is not a Muslim, what is more important is that it doesn't matter if he was. When you take your oath as a military member there is no mention regarding the religion of any president.

    October 13, 2013 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  7. Craig

    Last night in Oregon a nut drying facility caught fire. The building was essentially a total loss, along with the product that was in process. The local headlines suggested there will be a shortage of nuts in the coming months because of this. Apparently, however, there is no shortage of nuts elsewhere. Too bad they can't be canned and sold during Christmas to make up the shortage.

    October 13, 2013 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  8. Name

    I believe the federal workers are not be paid at the moment although the republicans want to back pay them once the shutdown is over,to make it seem like they are doing something for us ,it's ridiculous

    October 13, 2013 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  9. K55555

    Many of the comments on this story include, or some mainly consist of, insult. This is a shame, as the ideas involved in what is going on within our country, having to do with the budget and such, are important, and quite interesting. I would hope that if someone just feels an urge that is irrepressible to them, to lash out and insult and attack someone or something, then they would get off of the news site and go play a video game or something. Come back later when you can connect a few coherent thoughts together and present your case. Having said this, I believe that many of these stories which are connected to the budget make more sense when you acknowledge that , largely speaking, any money that the Federal Government spends, it has to take from those who pay Federal taxes, either sooner, or in the case that it raises money buy selling Treasury bonds, later, in order to pay on those bonds. In other words, there is not an endless supply of money, with no consequence.

    October 13, 2013 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  10. amahita

    National monuments, veteran's benefits, National parks, are part of the government. So, yes, they are closed. And yes, even open air monuments require government employes to oversee. So are payments to feed poverty stricken children part of the government. There were no provisions as to a partial shutdown. I fail to see how anyone would not foresee that closing of the government would not have this impact. And if that was not obvious to the people who brought this about (House republicans), then there is serious questions as to their intelligence, let alone their competence. Anyone who suggests that a 95-year old (who has led a full life) being denied the ability to visit a monument is more important than an innocent child's life, certainly shows themselves to be severely morally bereft.

    October 13, 2013 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  11. Mark in VA

    Don't we all think that a better way to "honor" our veterans and active duty would be to give them their paychecks and benefits....get the government working and stop being "played" by the Teaparty.. Real Patriots don't USE disabled vets and stage props for photo ops..
    STSCS(SS) USN Retired

    October 13, 2013 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  12. david Smith

    And if he was a Muslim, so what? Racism at its ugliest.

    October 13, 2013 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  13. tv22

    Funny, but many of you have no problem calling Republicans all sorts of things. Hostage holders, terrorists, etc.

    No wonder people are mad at you. You keep telling people they're evil, they're eventually going to fight back.

    October 13, 2013 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  14. M Schmidt

    The monuments that were closed require very little resources from paid employees to maintain them. The administration has probably spent more on security to keep them closed over the last 13 days then what the government spent on total maintenance over the previous 365 days. Never before have these monuments and Federal parks been closed by previous government shut downs. One man could have prevented the insult to the memories of our fallen heroes. When he denied death benefits and transportation to the families of our recent fallen soldiers he took this charade too far.
    If all the negative comments posted here about the Tea Party is any indication , then apparently the Tea Party must be doing something right and is making a real impact otherwise the anti-Tea Party faction wouldn't be sounding so nervous in their posts. It's interesting that in their efforts to push for a smaller fiscally responsible government and a demand for the Administration to reduce wasteful spending as a requirement to raise the debt ceiling a few people are branding the Tea Party as disloyal Americans Citizens. If that makes them disloyal then this country needs more of that disloyalty.
    In 2006 then Senator Obama gave a speech starting with these words: "The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure..." Wouldn't that imply that President Obama considers himself a failed leader?

    October 13, 2013 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  15. Mirage

    The preponderance of persons at this rally were vets.
    They were conservative vets.
    There may not have been a million, yet I do not see where the "Million Muslim" march had but a mere handful of people, and the haters here did not post derisive comments and try to minimize, marginalize or otherwise DISENFRANCHISE them
    You so-called "liberal" vets should do a head extrication from your posteriors and note that while you may not LIKE IT or may not LIKE who comes to help support them, at least they are supported by someone.
    We can all see that the frothing "liberal" vets do not give one care in the world for their own BROTHERS because of a difference in opinion. You know who you are and you are disappointing and dishonorable.

    October 13, 2013 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  16. asdf

    Really? Cruz the Cuban-Canadian born Texan & his brainless tea partiers rallying against the mess they've made?

    Kind of like fiddling while Rome burns or maybe arguing about arranging deck chairs while the Titanic sinks –

    When the revolution they've made comes – they will be the first to the guillotine!

    October 13, 2013 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  17. jmach6677

    Obama put the Koran down and be a president.

    October 13, 2013 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  18. Realistic85

    This is what we expect to hear from a group that just wants fiscal responsibility from their government... Pathetic...

    October 13, 2013 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  19. Russ

    Shame on you CNN!! First off this was a "VETERANS" rally! Unfortunately, the organizers screwed up by letting tea partier's (Palin, Cruz, etc.) get involved on the microphones. The VETERANS who attended included members of all political parties. This rally was advertised as an Apolitical rally and the organizers repeatedly asked for people to keep their politics at home. It's too bad that didn't happen because it obviously led to CNN misreporting the facts, as usual! The rally was intended to have only a couple of purposes and that was to open the veteran's memorials and gain support to pass a law so that no POTUS can ever again use veterans as pawns in his or her political games. As a veteran who supported the original intent of this rally, I was disgusted to see what it was turned into by the tea partier's but it does not excuse poor journalism that twists everyone's thinking to support "THEIR" president. As to those of you posting comments on here, please learn the real facts behind the rally and the poor reporting by CNN before totally condemning what was supposed to be a dignified rally of apolitical veterans. The one thing this rally and CNN did prove though, was just how severely POTUS has divided this country (It's a SAD day!). I really don't see how anyone in this country can honestly state that they like the "CHANGE" created by POTUS and I don't care what party you do or don't belong to!

    October 13, 2013 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  20. zeb

    Our internal issues are not caused by Islam but by our own shortsightedness such as the above comment about Obama putting down the Quran. If anything, we should blame American pop culture and the wealthiest 1% of Americans.

    October 13, 2013 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  21. Thomas

    Ditto. Just another Teaorrist rally.

    October 13, 2013 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  22. teri

    I can see all the Libs are still drinking the kool aid and CNN boy can you spin it. I glad that there are other news outlets that can report a honest story!!!!

    October 13, 2013 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  23. kerfluffle

    Patricia. You are making false statements. Yellowstone's entrances reside in 3 different states, and they are single-use roads to the Park.

    Stop hurting our nation.

    October 13, 2013 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  24. brainiac3397

    The last thing we need in a stupid situation is stupid people saying stupid things.

    October 13, 2013 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  25. Dandy Dizmore

    Why do they allow idiots to speak into microphones ???

    October 13, 2013 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
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