“Did you read the story today?” Paul asked on Fox’s Hannity. “Some idiot in government sent goons out there to set up barricades, so they couldn’t see the monument.”
Busloads of World War II veterans who flew into Washington on honor flights early Tuesday arrived at the Memorial to find it already had a barricade around it to keep the public out.
The vets walked past the barricade, and according to reports, were allowed to stay at the site by Park Police. But the story exploded online as the unexpected consequences of the government shutdown began to leak out.
Paul accused Democrats of planning the barricade to ramp up the theater surrounding the shutdown.
“People had to spend hours setting up barricades where there are never barricades to prevent people from seeing the World War II monument because they’re trying to play a charade,” he said. “They’re going to play a game with us to say you can’t see the monuments. That’s ridiculous. They’re doing it because they just aren’t serious about this; they like the shutdown.”
Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle rushed to the scene to score political points off the optics of vets being kept from visiting a war memorial.
The National Republican Congressional Committee put an ad up blaming Democrats for the barricade, while Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) vowed to donate his pay during the shutdown to the Honor Flight Network, which helped arrange travel for the veterans to D.C.