Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) attended a rally protesting the closure of the World War II Memorial, according to reports.
Cruz told the crowd that President Obama is using military veterans as “pawns” to draw support for his argument in the budget impasse, which has resulted in the two-week closure of the federal government and the memorial.
Cruz and Lee spearheaded a Republican effort to tie funding for government agencies beyond Oct. 1 to defunding Obama’s signature healthcare law. Democrats refused to make changes to the healthcare law, insisting on a “clean” bill for federal funding.
The standoff has resulted in a shutdown of the federal government for the first time in 17 years.
Palin similarly placed blame for the closure of the World War II Memorial on President Obama.
“Our veterans have allowed us to be here today standing up for our First Amendment rights so that we can express their optimism,” she said. “[Obama] could be here today standing up and saying, ‘Yes, we can tear down these barricades.'”
The presence of a Confederate flag at the protest, which later moved to the White House, sparked an uproar on Twitter.
I know, I'm always bringing race into everything, but I didn't bring the Confederate flag to the White House: pic.twitter.com/avXiBME6Xd— Joan Walsh (@joanwalsh) October 13, 2013
In many parts of America, waving a Confederate flag outside the home of a black family would be considered a very hostile act.— Jeffrey Goldberg (@JeffreyGoldberg) October 13, 2013
Pro tip: If you want to express your love of US Army & its monuments … leave the Confederate flag at home. pic.twitter.com/dyByu9av51— davidfrum (@davidfrum) October 13, 2013
--This report was updated at 3:10 p.m.