USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park commission chairman Bill Tunnell told the NBC News affiliate that the Republican party contacted them worried about the patriotic event turning into a “partisan political event” instead.
“After the request was made, then there was contact with the Republican Party, they contacted us and then it became apparent that it was going to be a partisan political event, rather than just a patriotic event planned for that evening,” Tunnell told WMTV.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall (R) sent a letter saying the park is “available for all political parties and candidates on an equal basis,” adding that there wasn’t enough time for a formal opinion on it, WMTV reported.
Tunnell also said that former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum using the park for his campaign in 2012 was the reason why the commission has abstained from partisan political events.
“Rick Santorum was the … straw that broke the camel’s back. And that’s when the commission went to the no partisan politics open to the public,” he said.
The news comes as Trump last week returned to the rally stage for the first time since he lost November’s election to President Biden.
Local Tea Party activist Pete Riehm told WMTV that some people just didn’t want Trump to speak at the event, adding that the cancellation raises concerns about freedom of speech.
“I’ll be honest, I feel some people just didn’t want it, not just it but President Trump,” he said. “If people can’t assemble in public places, where can we assemble?”
The Hill has reached out to Trump’s office and Marshall’s office for comment.
Via The Hill