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Documents show how Trump landed Lincoln Memorial for Fox News event

Documents show how Trump landed Lincoln Memorial for Fox News event
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In the spring of 2020, National Park Service personnel were preparing for an event President Donald Trump was holding with Fox News to address the nascent covid-19 pandemic from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, site of historic protests and inaugural concerts.

But, first, they had to brief Trump on the plans.

“As of now we’re looking at an event at base of Lincoln from 6-8 or so Sunday night. No event in chamber. I will see if that holds once POTUS is briefed later today,” Jeff Reinbold, the Park Service’s superintendent for the National Mall and Memorial Parks, wrote in an April 28, 2020, email to other agency officials.

By the next morning, the virtual “town hall” was no longer to be held at the base, the documents show. Trump’s two-hour sit-down with Fox News anchors would take place inside the memorial’s main chamber, on the landing in the shadow of the marble statue of a seated Lincoln. With the exception of an annual birthday tribute to Lincoln, federal regulations bar events from being held in that area.

The email is among hundreds of pages of newly released government documents that help fill in the picture of how officials from multiple government agencies worked to engineer the event at the Lincoln, one of the many norm-defying moments of the Trump presidency. They show that the Park Service provided security personnel at a cost of nearly $150,000 and that a U.S. Secret Service official apologized to colleagues for the planning process, calling it a “$#!t show.”

After the event, officials noted that the memorial itself — then 98 years old — had sustained scratches and gouges in its pink marble floor, according to a final memorandum.

In the end, the Trump-appointed interior secretary, David Bernhardt, relaxed the rules by finding that the venue was appropriate, given the president’s need to communicate with the American people during a “grave time of national crisis.” That finding has been previously reported.

Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, the executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice, a progressive group that acquired the documents through a public-records request, said she believes Bernhardt exceeded his authority and allowed Trump to use “the Lincoln Memorial as his stage set.”

“They’re trying to find a way, it looks like, to give him the chamber when there is no legal way to give him the chamber,” she said.

Verheyden-Hilliard’s group often litigates on behalf of those seeking access to public spaces, pressing the government to properly allow free-speech activities and protests along Pennsylvania Avenue and elsewhere.

Mike Litterst, a spokesman for the Park Service, did not address specific questions from The Washington Post. He said in a statement that the agency monitored the activity associated with the town hall, as it does any event not sponsored by the Park Service.

A spokesman for the Secret Service declined to comment. A Trump spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.

Bernhardt said in an interview that he stood by the decision and that government lawyers had approved it. At the time, federal officials and the nation were in the early stages of learning how deadly and transmissible the novel coronavirus was. Mass business closures enacted weeks before had forced layoffs. The unemployment rate had quadrupled.

“I felt that it was an important moment for the country,” Bernhardt told The Post.

On May 3, 2020, at the opening of the town hall, Trump greeted Fox anchors Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum by saying, “We never had a more beautiful set than this did we?” according to a transcript.

The hosts asked about criticism that had already surfaced about the use of the memorial as the site for the event.

“What can you criticize? It’s — I don’t think it’s ever been done, what we’re doing tonight here,” Trump said. “And I think it’s great for the American people to see.”

All presidents use national parks as backdrops for photo opportunities and promotional events, said Kristen Brengel of the National Parks Conservation Association, a nonprofit organization that works to protect the national park system. For his 2009 inaugural, President Barack Obama hosted a concert on the steps of the memorial and was photographed in the chamber. Four years later, he gave a speech on the steps as part of a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech.

But, by siting the town hall inside the memorial, with Fox News, Brengel said, the Trump administration held an event in defiance of federal regulations in a space that is hallowed ground to many Americans.

“This wasn’t a national emergency to do an event inside the Lincoln Memorial,” she said. “This was the commercial use of a park site in the middle of a pandemic.”

On April 28, the day before the event was announced, officials began sharing early information about it with one another, according to the documents. Reinbold told colleagues that it was being planned for the front steps of the memorial and directed a Fox News staffer to apply for the necessary permit.

Reinbold mentioned that the plans could change after they were presented to Trump that day.

Security personnel at the U.S. Park Police and the Secret Service began to make staffing considerations on short notice. A Park Police official justified the need to call in extra officers on the weekend by citing an emergency order issued weeks earlier allowing for “mission critical adjustments” to help the nation respond to the pandemic.

A Secret Service official helping to staff the event apologized for the process. “Sorry this is such a $#!t show. Will have answers shortly,” wrote the official, whose name is redacted in the documents.

The next day, with the event moved into the memorial’s chamber, Fox News would not need a permit after all, Reinbold wrote. He told colleagues it was out of his hands. “They are using the site as a venue and this is not a co-sponsored or NPS event in any way,” he wrote on April 29.

Trump and Fox announced that the event would take place four days later, on a Sunday evening.

Fox News began making arrangements. A Fox staffer sent Park Service officials a photo taken from the 1963 March on Washington, shot from behind Lincoln’s statue looking out at the entrance, that she hoped to replicate.

“We are also looking to achieve the camera shot in the attached picture,” she wrote on April 30.

An inscription marks the spot where King spoke, 18 steps from the top landing of the memorial.

On May 3, Bernhardt issued a “record of determination,” citing the growing pandemic and the need for the president to communicate with Americans as reasoning to allow the event. “In this grave time of national crisis, the Memorial is a uniquely appropriate place from which our President can communicate an official message to the American people,” Bernhardt wrote.

Verheyden-Hilliard rejected the idea that the interior secretary had such authority. “All they are really doing is putting window dressing on something that is clearly illegal,” she said.

In response to questions from The Post, Fox News Media said in a statement that the station had been approached by the Trump administration and “agreed to moderate the May 2020 event in an effort to provide critical information to the American public.”

“The location of the Lincoln Memorial was proposed by the administration and Fox News worked directly with the National Park Service to ensure the production followed every protocol to protect the space,” the company said.

A Park Service memo after the event said the production crew had “generally followed previously agreed to requirements.” But it also said: “Inside the Lincoln Chamber there are several scratches and gouges on the flooring. Photo documentation taken and referred to the park’s senior management.”

No photos of damage were among the documents released. Fox News said it was unaware of any damage. “At no point was the network made aware of any damages as a result of the event,” the company said.

Litterst said in the statement that the damage was “addressed in-house by the park’s conservators.”

In correspondence in the days after the event, about how to respond to reporters’ questions, Litterst made clear to colleagues that he did not want to give the impression that the agency would allow such an event to take place again: “I think it’s a good opportunity to slam the door on anyone who thinks they can make a similar ask to do an interview in the chamber.”

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Daley’s focus is on making 2023 Memorial Cup ‘memorable event’

Daley’s focus is on making 2023 Memorial Cup ‘memorable event’

Daley replaces the late Don Moores, who passed away from a heart attack last June 30. Daley just wants to carry on the legacy Moores left behind.

“I think Don did a fantastic job making the Blazers important in the community and I want to continue that,” he told reporters on Monday. “I want to make sure people are aware of us throughout the season, making sure we’re filling this building, getting good sponsorship, being good community supporters for our community here in Kamloops. The fact I’ve got experience with events, making sure the Memorial Cup is a memorable event for our community as well.”

Gaglardi feels Daley will help make that happen. He says Kamloops, as the Tournament Capital of Canada, is used to hosting these big events, but Daley’s presence will enhance the Memorial Cup even more.

“These muscles are here, the people are here, and so I think we can fit right into that mold that’s been created over decades,” said Gaglardi. “Then Norm’s knowledge of these events and connections will just be super important to make sure this event can be the best it can be.”

Planning for the Memorial Cup, the event itself, is his No. 1 focus as he jumps into the new role. Daley doesn’t make it a secret the championship tournament was a big motivator in taking the job.

“My motivation level is I wanted this event and I wanted this for our community, and I want to ensure we make this, if not the best, one of the best that’s ever been held,” he said. “That’s my motivation, to give back to the community and really be part of it.”

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National Multiculturalism Day events at Armstrong’s Memorial Park June 27 – Vernon News

National Multiculturalism Day events at Armstrong's Memorial Park June 27 - Vernon News

Multicultural event

Armstrong’s Memorial Park is going international.

June 27 is National Multiculturalism Day and the park host numerous events to honour the many cultural communities that help build a strong and vibrant Canadian society.

Take this opportunity to celebrate the diversity that enriches us collectively and reaffirm your commitment to equity, inclusion, and mutual respect.

“In our community, we will be hosting a free celebration with food, live music, art and cultural presentations,” said Patti Noonan, executive director, Armstrong Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Centre.

“Multiculturalism is one of Canada’s great strengths. We encourage you to share your experience, and your story with others and listen to theirs at this event.”

Cultural presentations will be made by Kelowna Bhangra School, Blakely Okanagan Irish Dance, Vernon Chidorikai Japanese Dancers and a student-led GSA Diversity Exhibit.

There will also be cultural food and beverages provided by Handmade by Georgia, Finca Las Magaritas Coffee, Taste of Egypt, Meenu Indian Cusine and Greek Chariot.

The free event takes place from 5-8 p.m.

For a complete event schedule, click here.

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Organizers Unveil Memorial Cup Event Schedule

Organizers Unveil Memorial Cup Event Schedule
Organizers Unveil Memorial Cup Event Schedule

Organizing committee chair Mark-Anthony Ashfield (left) and Saint John Sea Dogs general manager Trevor Georgie. (Image: Brad Perry)

There will be more than just hockey to check out when the Memorial Cup comes to town in just a few days.

On Tuesday, organizers unveiled the full list of events that are scheduled to take place during the tournament.

Mark-Anthony Ashfield, chair of the organizing committee, said a total of 12 major events will take place over 12 days.

“We really wanted this event to be one that our entire community could participate in and feel like they were part of the Memorial Cup. Out of that discussion and out of that thinking really came to our theme of One for All,” said Ashfield.

Events begin on Saturday, June 18, with the unveiling of two legacy projects — a ball hockey surface near TD Station and a new mural at the AREA 506 Waterfront Container Village.

It also marks the beginning of a ball hockey tournament and the first of six themed street parties dubbed the One for All District. It includes a Youth Day, Father’s Day, LGBTQ+ Day, Francophone Day, Maritime Day, and Multicultural Day.

“The One for All District not only allows us a platform to speak about our focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, but it also gives us an opportunity to showcase the incredible architecture and uptown businesses within a short walk of the host venue,” said Ashfield.

Also on Saturday is an open-air concert at the Waterfront Container Village dubbed the Port City Party, featuring Juno Award-winning band The Strumbellas.

The Arrival of the Cup will take place on Sunday with a parade from Long Wharf to the Waterfront Container Village. This year’s military jersey will also be unveiled.

Monday will see the start of Fan Fest and Bash on the Bay, along with Game 1 of the Memorial Cup.

Fan Fest, which takes until June 29 in Market Square, includes an exhibit from the Hockey Hall of Fame as well as the weeklong Speaker Series with speakers reflecting the One for All concept.

Bash on the Bay takes place at the Waterfront Container Village and will feature performers from across Canada, including Big Wreck, Alan Doyle, Classified, and Matt Mays. Performances are scheduled for either before or after game time.

On-ice skills sessions will be taking place throughout the week, run by elite male and female leaders including past and present personalities from the CHL and NHL. In addition, Olympic medalist Curt Harnett will host a bike rodeo and community bike ride on Saturday, June 25.

Ashfield said this will be the biggest Memorial Cup to ever be hosted anywhere in Canada.

“There have been bigger venues, there have been larger cities that have hosted the Memorial Cup, but in terms of things that are going to happen for the city, there has not been a Memorial Cup like this one,” he said.

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Alpena remembers those who served at Memorial Day events

Alpena remembers those who served at Memorial Day events

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz
Lt. Col. Dustin Budd was the guest speaker at the annual Memorial Day ceremony in Alpena. He said it is important to remember those who lost their lives, but also the other moments in life they sacrificed, such as getting married, having children, and fulfilling goals and dreams.

ALPENA — On Memorial Day, people pay tribute to the brave men and women who gave their lives to preserve freedom at home in the United States and around the globe.

Remembering them for sacrificing their lives is important, but taking time to reflect on the life events they missed out on because of their bravery and love for others can help paint a clearer picture of what their ultimate sacrifice was.

At the annual Memorial Day ceremony at Little Flanders Field, hundreds of people gathered to honor our nation’s heroes. Lt. Col. Dustin Budd was the guest speaker and during his address, he urged people who lost someone close during war, to talk about them, share their stories and dreams with others, and to cherish their memories.

Budd said many soldiers who died in combat, or are missing in action, were just beginning life’s journey, when they enlisted or were drafted into the military. He said their deaths mean they missed out on key life events that some people may take for granted.

“We must strive to understand and appreciate more the depth of the sacrifice they made,” Budd said. “We must consider their goals, their hopes for the future, the plans they had set in motion for that future, their anticipated joy of having and raising children and grandchildren, of living their days with the love of their life, all of the hopes and plans they had for making the absolute most of the life given them by their creator ended abruptly for an ideal that directly benefits you and I, and the generations yet to come.”

Often, a moment of silence is used to pay respect for someone who has died. Budd said that is a fitting tribute, but he added utilizing words can be even more powerful in keeping their memory alive.

“With words we express, with words we remember them,” he said. “We remember them through the experiences we shared together. With words we convey to our children the great price of freedom and the moments in history that have made possible the blessings of today. Words connect us with them. We share the words of who they were, where they lived, whom they loved and cherished. Words allow us to share what was dear and important to them.”

After Budd’s speech, Wreaths were placed in front of the rows of white crosses marking those from Alpena who perished while serving. Wreaths were also placed near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, for the missing in action and prisoners of war, and for those who were impacted from Agent Orange.

The VFW 2496 did a rifle salute and Bob Sullivan and Nancy Halsey played taps before the closing prayer delivered by Marine Bill Romstadt.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached at 989-358-5689 at Follow him on Twitter

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Local communities hold Memorial Day parades, events

Local communities hold Memorial Day parades, events

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – Several communities held observances of Memorial Day in the Madison area. Here are some events that happened on Monday.

Wisconsin’s largest and longest-running Memorial Day parade was held in Monona Monday.

Monona Memorial Day Parade

Wisconsin’s largest and longest-running Memorial Day parade was held in Monona Monday.

After a year away, the parade made its return. Sixty groups took part in the event this year.

Military personnel were honored with the proceedings.

Parade goers were excited to take part in the celebrations.

“Not having the parade was so sad for us. I really love getting together with everyone in town and just celebrating, that’s my favorite part,” parade attendee Jacqueline Cosgrove said.

After the parade, ceremonies were held honoring veterans and those serving in the military right now.

During the event, the flag was raised from half staff to full.

DeForest Memorial Day Ceremony

A Memorial Day service was held at Veterans Memorial Park in DeForest.

During the event, the flag was raised from half staff to full.

Attendees and speakers talked about the importance of recognizing fallen soldiers on Memorial Day.

“It kind of gets to me when people come up and thank you for your service, and I appreciate that, but really think about those people, they really made the ultimate sacrifice,” National Air Guard retired Brig. General Jerry Olsen said.

Olsen added there is no such thing as a happy Memorial Day because the day is meant to honor those who lost their lives for the United States.

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Memorial Day: Thousands ‘Carry the Load,’ attend in-person events to honor fallen heroes

Memorial Day: Thousands 'Carry the Load,' attend in-person events to honor fallen heroes

Thousands of people took part in an event in Dallas meant to remind people about the meaning of Memorial Day and who it honors.

Carry the Load began over a decade ago as a small march around White Rock Lake. Now it’s a worldwide tradition with five relays spanning much of the country to honor fallen heroes.

Those who took part all arrived at Reverchon Park in the Turtle Creek neighborhood of Dallas on Monday. Many carried the names and faces of loved ones killed in the line of duty.

“I think everyone needs to remind themselves what Memorial Day means. Bring it into their lives, bring it into their children’s lives,” said Stephen Smith, who walked through the night.

RELATED: Carry the Load helps people honor fallen service members for Memorial Day

For Pauline Perez, this year is personal.

“I could’ve been the reason my family is out here continuing the tradition,” she said.

Perez is a firefighter with Dallas Fire Rescue. On Sept. 21 of last year, she nearly died.

She and the crew of Truck 25 responded to the Hidden Hills Apartment Complex for reports of a gas leak. She was badly injured in the explosion.

RELATED: Dallas apartment explosion injures 8, 3 firefighters in critical condition

“I still have sleeves and gloves on my hands to protect myself from the sun but to be able to be out here and be able to talk and to be able to honor the heroes and put their lives on the line means a lot to me,” Perez said.

She continues to improve and said she is grateful to her brother who motivated her to get out and walk for her mental and physical health.

Since it started, Carry the Load has raised more than $32 million to support programs for veterans, including mental health services and help for the families of fallen service members.

At DFW National Cemetery, it was the first time the public could pay their respects in person since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Jimenez family was among the large audience who took part in the memorial service which included a wreath laying.

“We’re here to pay respects to our nation and those who have passed and made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Teresa Jimenez, whose father was in the Army.

The 638-acre cemetery has conducted more than 75,000 interments of veterans and eligible dependents. Sadly, more will follow.

“It means a lot to see this huge turnout to pay respects for those who have fallen for our country,” said Osario Rodriguez, a member of the U.S. Navy.

RELATED: President Biden observes Memorial Day with ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery

And at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Fort Worth, the public was invited to take part in a one-hour Memorial Day service. This too was in person for the first time in two years.

“We really need to come together to remember where we are, where we were and where we need to go,” said Carl Davis, an Air Force veteran.