Witnesses said a Mississippi lawmaker opened a barricade to allow a group of veterans into the World War II Memorial closed as part of the federal government shutdown.
Talking Points Memo reported that Rep. Steven Palazzo and another official were standing by at the gate when the group of 91 veterans arrived as part of an Honor Flight visit.
The Mississippi Gulf Coast chapter of the group had been scheduled to visit the memorial Tuesday, hours after the federal government laid off about 800,000 workers as part of a congressional impasse over budget legislation.
The chapter’s secretary told the website they arrived without a definite plan but had not intended to go inside the memorial if it was closed.
Palazzo and some other lawmakers, including Rep. Steve King (R-IA) and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), were standing nearby and spoke with Park Police before the Mississippi Republican opened the gate to allow the veterans inside.
Both Palazzo and King voted for the spending bill that was rejected, as promised, by the Senate, including Harkin, leading to the government shutdown.
The secretary said she wasn’t sure if Palazzo had received permission to open the barricade.
On Twitter, a conservative columnist for the Weekly Standard complained that the government shutdown had, in fact, shut down this particular facet of the federal government.
Serious question: Doesn't it take more effort/manpower to close/barricade WWII Memorial than it would to leave it open?
— Stephen Hayes (@stephenfhayes) October 1, 2013
[Image via Wikipedia Commons]