“If you look at the facts that BLM can get a riot permit in Washington, D.C., with COVID going on at the exact same time, how do you not allow veterans into the parking lot, the 70-acre parking lot of the Pentagon in this 20-year plus tradition? Total politics in my opinion,” Mast told “The Faulkner Focus.”
Pentagon Special Events confirmed AMVETS’ permit for the “Rolling to Remember” motorcycle rally on March 11 but later reversed its decision. Mast wrote a letter in April to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin urging him to “promptly approve” the permit.
Mast wrote to Biden on Wednesday asking him to reverse the Pentagon’s decision because “guidance from your own Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledges that the risks of outdoor transmission are very low.”
“Moreover, nine state, local and federal agencies have already approved AMVETS’ permit for this year, including the National Park Service, Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia, Arlington County Police Department, Arlington County Fire Department, Virginia State Police and District of Columbia Fire and Emergency services,” Mast wrote. “All of these agencies believe this event can happen safely.”
AMVETS’ national executive director Joe Chennelly told “The Faulkner Focus” on Wednesday that the event will still happen.
“We will have a demonstration on May 30 in Washington, D.C. We’re not going to be able to stage where this demonstration has staged for decades, but we will have a central staging area in the District,” Chennelly said. “It will be safe, it will be coordinated, and we have a lot of protocols in place to make sure that the spread of Covid doesn’t happen there. And we are working with every other agency. There are a lot of agencies that are responsible for that region. We’re working with all of those. The Pentagon is the only one that wouldn’t work with us.”
The Pentagon blamed coronavirus risks for the decision.
“The department took into careful consideration all aspects of AMVETS request, to include the current Health Protection Condition status on the Pentagon Reservation; substantial community transmission of COVID-19 in Arlington County, Virginia; number of Americans fully vaccinated across the nation; nature of this event with its decreased ability to maintain physical distance; and large crowds in one location for an extended period of time,” the Pentagon said in a statement according to 7News.
“This event draws national attention and participation; therefore the risk of exposure from participants from other communities extends well beyond the National Capital Region.”
“If COVID-19 conditions permit, the department would gladly consider supporting a future event request from AMVETS, potentially as soon as this Labor Day weekend. The department looks forward to supporting future events with AMVETS,” the Pentagon’s statement continued.
The coronavirus pandemic forced Rolling to Remember to go virtual in 2020.
Fox News’ inquiry to the White House was not returned at the time of publication.