Cruz, Lee, Palin join memorial protest

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.

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The lawmakers and the former governor – and 2008 GOP vice-presidential nominee – joined a crowd that removed barricades at the memorial and chanted “tear down these walls,” according to Washington, D.C., radio station WTOP.

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.

--This report was updated at 3:10 p.m.

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