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. Jeff

    This, in a nutshell, highlights the problem with my party. I suspect most of us who remain registered as Republicans would be considered left-wing extremists by the tiny minority of folks who force their way to the microphones and spout ignorance, hate and regressive policies. Of course, it's our own fault for not being more vocal, ourselves. I am tired of meeting with local political leaders, only to hear in hushed tones how afraid they are of this vocal minority. Our cowardice has resulted in the debate shifting to the extremists on both sides.

    October 14, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  2. American

    With these type of extremist requests, now we know why our president is not negotiating... NO NEGOTIATIONS WITH THESE TYPE OF PEOPLE...

    October 14, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  3. Rob

    Definite questions with this president, not a week goes by and there is a scandal/mess/incident

    October 14, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  4. Failure again

    It doesn't matter whose side you are on at this point. The democrats spent a lot of money to close down landmarks that shouldn't be to be dramatic. The republicans are tired of all the lack of accountability on spending. Obama refused to raise the debt ceiling when he was senator and stated their need to be a cut in spending and he wasn't going to support raising it. Now, he fully supports an open check book. Both are at fault, but I am a taxpayer who is very tired of the politics and all the spending going on in Washington DC. People need to wake up regardless of party affiliation and stop the spending. Demand a better America and demand people be held accountable for their lives. It is not my job to pay for you to sit home, be on welfare, abort your children, or pay for you to live!

    October 14, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  5. Jim Michaels

    I don't agree with these tea party guys but at least respect their right and look at the ridiculous moves of obama to barricade the place.

    October 14, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  6. Pam from Iowa

    You have to feel somewhat sorry for someone so intellectually challlenged, like this man.

    October 14, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  7. Jim

    Such a stupid comment on his part, thats what happens when people use drugs...all the more reason why one should say no to drugs. lol

    October 14, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  8. Flash

    There are millions of Vets, most of which don't support this fringe point of view.

    October 14, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  9. CALiberal

    Another Tea Party rally. What a bunch of dingbats. The 2012 election is over, get over it.

    October 14, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  10. Jared

    I'm a Veteran, but the first thing I'll say is that this Tea Party doesn't represent me. Neither do the other Republicans, nor the Democrats. They're all party followers, little lambs that would run off the end of a cliff if they didn't know better. Ted Cruz has a lot of talk about "...stop the games...," yet he's playing all the time with the emotions of everyday Americans. This latest stunt is a fine example.

    October 14, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  11. GH

    Bunch of tea thugs descending on the White House, tearing up federal property. Shameful. Didn't know white folks could carry on like that!

    October 14, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  12. Epi

    If you want to get mad at Obama for "closing" the parks, why not get mad at Cruz for making it so the Military doesn't get paid tomorrow? This slimdown tied in with the sequester is the most anti-Veteran action taken by Congress. Not even all Congress, just 80 illiterate, racist, hate speaking hypocrites.

    October 14, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  13. VideoGirl

    Wow. I can understand disagreeing with the President, but saying things like put down the Quran and exciting US citizens over something that is not true, is a travesty. Those Vietnam vets should know better. They were drafted into a war in a country where enemies and allies looked the same, thousands of American soldiers died and the war was a failure. At least, President Obama pulled troops out of a the middle east and cleaned up the mess in which the previous administration profited. The clown that is talking in this video seems both bipolar, very uninformed and uh well, jealous of the President's intellect.

    October 14, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  14. Sammy

    It's amazing that this whole crisis was manufactured by Cruz and his ilk and now tries to make himself look like the knight in shining armor. Cruz, go back to Canada, eh?

    October 14, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  15. Tony

    Let them do their photo ops. Let them do their grandstanding. None of it matter in the long run; the only thing that matters is elections. I'm afraid the GOP will be shown the door in 2014, but they did it to themselves. The ever-increasing majority of Americans do not agree with them, and know who really is responsible for the shut down. Yes, the Tea Party is very vocal, but only represent a small minority of Americans in the usual states where their behavior seems to be encouraged. The sad part is that the GOP doesn't seem to realize that their future as a viable national political party-and I stress the word "national"-does not not lie with the likes of Ted Cruz and his posse, but with reasonable members of such as Chris Christie.

    October 14, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  16. Ann C

    Why does any reputable news media give this press? It is time we showed some civility in this country and we can disagree with our President but we don't spew hatred and lies like this rally. All news should say no more...you tell the truth or we don't report it. CNN does as much damage as the Tea Party haters when this type of story is aired. I almost think you guys are wanting to become FOX...and I hope not. You used to be a good source of factual news can we get back to that please.

    October 14, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  17. jo2

    This is the reasons Republicans will never have the white house again.

    October 14, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  18. Mahadi

    Whats wrong if he is a Muslim, Muslims can`t becone a President, A Muslime will be a better President, he wont lie, he will do better for others

    October 14, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  19. jen

    I'm starting to get it now. Sarah Palin & Ted Cruz don't feel like they need their colored robes and this idiot forgot his white one. I guess it's true the KKK lives on

    October 14, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  20. Shakira

    Ignorance at it's finest right there. Sad this what our country has become.

    October 14, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  21. NWJoe

    Obviously, many people believe the BS that comes out of the mouths of Hanniity, Limbaugh and Beck

    October 14, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  22. cedar rapids

    'Wes – CNN missed that last week the memorial park was open by Obama for an Amnesty rally but was closed for Veterans this week'

    And you missed that A) Obama didnt open anything at all. You really need to get over this idea that Obama is asked to specifically ok the opening or closing of the thousands of places closed down.
    And B) 'Police scattered barricades adorned with “closed” signs across the Mall, but 15,000 pro-amnesty supporters ignored them. They also arrested over 200 people for being there. '
    ....they were not actually allowed to be there. They arrested over 200 people just for gathering, and yet i didnt hear of such arrests at this Vet rally, so how do you explain that favoritism?

    October 14, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  23. Marie MD

    @davidhubbard, my husband served in the Army and he was right smack in the middle of combat!!!
    Don't you dare tell me or him or anyone who has served that your bunch of crazy teatards have the best interest of our country. They campaigned on shutting down the government and they did just that. They don't care about the veterans or anybody but the Koch brothers who are their puppeteers and pimps.
    My husband was a republican until he changed to democrat in 2012 (he really had been a rino since 2008 when he gave up because of McCain and his choice of VP candidate) because he couldn't stand ANYTHING about his old party anymore. He doesn't agree with pretty much anything and all the hate an lies that they constantly spew and their idiot followers believe.

    October 14, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  24. Chris

    It is sad this headline is still an issue. Freedom of Religion is the first amendment. Any American citizen, let alone the President of the United States, can practice whatever religion they wish. It does not matter if our President is Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindi, or any other religion. I am not an Obama supporter due to his ineffective leadership of our government, rumors of his religious practices have no bearing on my opinion. I served my country to defend, among many things, religious freedom in this nation. People need to get past their narrow minded views and form opinions based on actions, not inconsequentials.

    I understand that this is a headline meant to pull in readers because it is controversial. However, the headline has very little bearing on the story. What really should be questioned here is the morality of using this headline. CNN is not the only media source to blame, every major media outlet in this country uses this type of reporting, and it saddens me.

    October 14, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  25. Stephen

    Have any Republican leaders rebuked these radical right party people for these outragious public statements of Obama? Hey Palin, got any more teenage pregnancies in the family you'd care to disclose? Can't imaging your rhetoric if that were in Obama's family. Let me say as a 6th generation American and long time Republican, you WHITE PEOPLE in Washington in this story – are an embarrassment to WHITE people, and cannot call you a fellow American!

    October 14, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
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