- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 29, 2021

An event planned for this weekend featuring former President Donald Trump has been canceled for fear it’d be a partisan rally.

Bill Tunnell, USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park commission chairman, told an Alabama TV station that the patriotic event set for Saturday had become 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,” Mr. Tunnell told Mobile NBC affiliate WPMI.

Mr. Tunnell said the panel solicited an opinion from the state attorney general’s office in late May, but could not get reassurance in time.

“Due to the imminence of the date of the proposed event, my Opinions Division is unable to timely respond with an official position,” Attorney General Steve Marshall wrote in the letter posted by WPMI.

However, the attorney general warned, case law says parks may be used for political events if access is “available for all political parties and candidates on an equal basis.”

The park was used for a 2012 Republican presidential-primary rally by candidate Rick Santorum, but, according to Mr. Tunnell, after that “the commission went to the ‘no partisan politics’ open to the public.”

Local tea party activist Pete Riehm smelled a rat.

“I’ll be honest, I feel some people just didn’t want it, not just it but President Trump,” said Mr. Riehm, whom WPMI said was “familiar with the behind-the-scenes discussions of the event.”

“If people can’t assemble in public places. Where can we assemble?” he said.

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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