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. DeLempicka

    I find it incredible that these hopelessly misinformed tea partiers continue to believe that President Obama is a Muslim or that he was born in another country. The irony is that their hero, Ted Cruz, WAS born in another country (Canada).

    October 13, 2013 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  2. Stella

    Gee, only negative comments on this sight, why CNN...why?

    October 13, 2013 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  3. Andrew

    Wow "put the Quran down" ?!?? Ridiculous that republican Congressmen associate themselves with that kind of prejudicial hate speech. Obama is a Christian, thanks.

    October 13, 2013 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  4. RickFromTexas

    Lol, the idiot brigade is up to their same old tired antics. These clueless Tea Party dolts really haven't learned one damned thing, have they?

    These tactics didn't work in 2008 or in 2012 yet here they are again with the same old nonsense. The Tea Party is the definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results. I'll give them credit for one thing, now we know exactly who the real crazies are, the people who go to these rallies.

    October 13, 2013 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  5. DEM

    Obama has ruined this country !!!! I am sorry I voted for him, what a waste !!!

    October 13, 2013 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  6. pw

    Is this whole thing engineered? One begins to wonder....start with putting a black man in the executive office – then take a white, right wing radical fringe group, and proceed to divide and conquer. To what end? Remains to be seen, but the public sure play into the scheme like lemmings.

    October 13, 2013 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  7. Kevin Spears

    These people sacrificed for you all to sit there and comment on their activism from your well worn chairs. You people are disgusting for you manner toward our vets. I hope you never feel a war coming on your household. 🙂

    October 13, 2013 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  8. me

    Yea down with Obama and his minions

    October 13, 2013 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  9. brian

    @JC – Are you for real? Any national park costs money. Upkeep, maintenance, security etc. To say it doesn't cost money for the veterans to visit the monument is such a grossly incorrect statement it is mind boggling.

    October 13, 2013 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  10. Darkspur

    Mahatma Gandhi just turned in his grave several times. Please leave him out of this.

    October 13, 2013 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  11. GOPnightmare

    You know I find these people funny....IF this government shutdown would have happened under W. All the things that the crazies blame Obama for closing would still be closed. But these people that are blaming Obama really make me laugh they should be visiting the elected representatives instead. It wasn't Obama that got it into this mess it was those minority so called Republicans that are members of the Tea Party.

    October 13, 2013 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  12. Eatenhogg

    If Sarah Palin was at D-Day, she would have bailed out over England and then criticized everyone for how they took France. Typical remf.

    October 13, 2013 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  13. Tracy

    How long before we see another republican win the presidency – atleast another 25 years . Can not imagine the damage of the last 6 years will blow over before a quarter of a century . also even if a republican candidate was reasonable and sensible he would have to cow tow to the tea party so that will seal his ability to get no more than 25 % of the votes. Are republicans crazy or just plain dumb ?

    October 13, 2013 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  14. Sean Robert Meaney

    So can we just get rid of all the traitors in government and represent ourselves?

    October 13, 2013 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  15. S. B. Stein

    It can't just be one side's fault. The House had time to send a clean CR through the Senate. The GOP senators could have allowed both houses of Congress to go to conference. There are too many ideologues in Congress that only do what the reactionary and radical pundits tell them to do.

    October 13, 2013 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  16. a little sanity check

    I like to ask the 'true-believers' how many social free-loaders they have personally met. Not one of them could name a single one. So what is this mythical beast they hate so virulently? It's the same one Reagan capitalized on by telling the lynch-mob 'patriots' that 'Welfare Queens' were sponging off of hard-working ordinary folks. Same idea, different times. The fact that, f you're honest, you don't know any career-freeloaders should tell you that this is a made-up problem that does not exist. It is used by vile politicians who can only get elected by appealing to ignorant mobs. You don't want them leading the country do you?

    October 13, 2013 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  17. Big_D

    So why do veterans have an issue with the people that are trying to open the government back up? The Tea Party chose this tactic and they also chose the tactic that caused the credit downgrade. I think we should be proactive in cutting off the services of these folks since they only care that they get their government benefits. The Tea Party is a cancer created by the Koch's to manipulate the simple.

    October 13, 2013 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  18. Ann

    I am so glad to see this kind of rally. IT IS ABOUT TIME in AMERICA.

    October 13, 2013 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  19. DigDug2k

    I'm always shocked that the same people who are super offended that anyone would call them racist, are happy stand in the streets and act as if being a Muslim is some sort of insult.

    October 13, 2013 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  20. bob welborn

    I remember the old joke about the most dangerous place to be in Washington was between a microphone and Phil Graham. Substitute microphone for veteran photo ops and Phil Graham for Sen. Cruz and Gov. Palin and you get the picture. One would be hard put to find two more self-serving chauvinists in politics today.

    October 13, 2013 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  21. Shell Hari

    This is the New Normal

    The Tea Partiers must not have gotten the memo delivered to them decades ago: slavery for blacks and other minorities in the United States is over! No longer can a white person raise his/her voice or use force to get a black person or some other minority to obey him/her. The times have changed; there is no going back. Therefore, the sooner the Tea Partiers can absorb this message into their thick skulls, the quicker they would be able to wane themselves off the booze and pills that are slowly killing them because they choose hate over acceptance, and because they choose radical Islamic views over Christian values. I am sorry to break it to them but this is the new normal.

    October 13, 2013 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  22. ludvig

    Back in 1982 when Raygun was the President, I figured out he used his bureaucrat terminology to drum up the people who hate federal workers. As a federal Nuclear Engineer working for the Navy supporting submarine overhaul, I quit voting for these people as I saw the evil beginning to germinate in the Republican party at that time. Prior to that time I had voted straight Republican. I no longer and will never vote again for a Repuglican.

    October 13, 2013 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  23. joe

    Good for the tea party. Its nice to see some people still have some backbone in this country. And thank you veterans. You don't deserve this silliness.

    October 13, 2013 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  24. cglife

    Wow! You are blind if you think The President alone shut it down and morons here saying he hates the country,anti christian,hates veterans hates white people REALLY? well um doubtful he loves Vets being as his Grandfather Stanley Dunham was a WWII Veteran AND WHITE oh yeah his wife and Obamas grandmother and his Mother WHITE ALSO

    October 13, 2013 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  25. bye

    Some people decidedly need mental help in the "Tea Party" groups

    October 13, 2013 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
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