Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, offered Wednesday for the RNC to pay the costs of keeping the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., open during the government shutdown. Some have wondered why the memorial needs to be barricaded at all, given that it is out in the open.
"The Obama administration has decided they want to make the government shutdown as painful as possible, even taking the unnecessary step of keeping the Greatest Generation away from a monument built in their honor," Priebus said, as he stood in front of the memorial.
"That's not right, and it's not fair. So the RNC has put aside enough money to hire five security personnel to keep this memorial open to veterans and visitors. Ideally, I'd hope to hire furloughed employees for this job."
Priebus also challenged the Democratic National Committee to join him in paying to keep the monument open.
Later the same day, the National Park Service announced that the WWII Memorial would be open for veterans, many of whom travel to Washington under a special program that pays for them to be able to view the memorial.
The NPS likely did not have much choice, given that veterans were already openly breeching the barricades the first two days of the shutdown, and on the second day they were joined by members of Congress of both parties eager for a photo-op showing their support for the veterans.
"Why is Obama spending tax money to put up barricades around unstaffed memorials that never close?" Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) tweeted Wednesday morning.
Other open air monuments, such as the Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and the memorials for those who fought in the Vietnam and Korean wars, were also barricaded. There have been reports of tourists also ignoring some of those barricades to view the monuments. This reporter observed tourists slipping past the MLK Memorial barricades.
At the Lincoln Memorial, guards were present to make sure no one got past the barricades, which left some to wonder: if guards are being paid to keep people out, can they just be paid to let people in?