Florida Republican Rep. John Mica called for the firing of officials who ordered the barricade of the open-air World War II memorial to veterans on Wednesday, including the Secretary of the Interior and National Parks Director.
The government’s efforts were “one of the most appalling things I’ve ever seen,” Mica said, according to The Hill.
“First of all, maybe we need to get a new Interior [secretary] and Parks director and fire those folks or furlough those folks that can’t leave public spaces and memorials open to the public. What an offense,” he said on the House floor.
“How offensive could you be? How much more pain do you want to inflict on the American people?” he continued. “I’ve been around here a long time. I’ve never seen an operation like this.”
A group of 150 World War II and Korean War veterans, sponsored by the Honor Flight program, flew into Washington, D.C. on Tuesday to visit memorial sites, but were met with police and barricades.
Risking arrest, they stormed the memorial as Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King distracted officers while his staffers helped knock down the barricades. (RELATED: WWII vets storm closed memorial as GOP congressman reportedly distracts cops)
According to Mississippi Republican Rep. Steven Palazzo, The White House and Department of the Interior refused to consider an exemption for the vets after informing Palazzo the memorial would be closed and blocked off.
“At first I thought it was a huge bureaucratic oversight,” Palazzo told The Daily Caller on Tuesday, “but having talked with the officials I can’t help but think this was politically motivated. Honor Flights, which bring WWII veterans to the nation’s memorials, are planned a year in advance and cost anywhere between $80,000 to $100,000. How low can you get with playing politics over our nation’s veterans?”
The administration informed Palazzo, a Gulf War Marine vet, that the memorials would be barricaded.
“It’s a government shutdown,” an official told Palazzo. “What did you expect?”
When faced with a halt in revenue, government agencies frequently orchestrate public crisis to encourage a public outcry on their behalf — a tactic which has earned the name, “The Washington Monument Syndrome.”
National Parks Director George Hartzog pioneered the ploy in 1969, ordering the closing of the Washington Monument and all other popular parks for two days a week after President Richard Nixon cut his funding. Congress buckled and restored funding later that year.
The president, in turn, fired him in 1972, after Hartzog revoked a permit from a personal friend of Nixon’s.