Biden Nixes Veterans' Memorial Event

The Rolling Thunder event in 2019 (Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images)
May 4, 2021

The Biden administration denied event permits for the Rolling to Remember motorcycle ride held every year for the past 30 years in Washington, D.C., prompting outrage in Congress.

The charity event, formerly known as Rolling Thunder, is a Memorial Day hallmark in the city, bringing scores of veterans and others to the area to commemorate war veterans, including prisoners of war and those missing in action.

The event was jeopardized at the last moment after the Pentagon declined to issue a permit allowing the group to gather in its parking lot, citing restrictions associated with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Biden administration officials "refused to talk with event organizers" and "refused to respond to Congress about this topic," according to Rep. Darrel Issa (R., Calif.), who was one of several members to petition the Pentagon in April to approve the event.

The Pentagon approved the permit in March and then rescinded the decision this week without any explanation, according to Issa and Rep. Ken Calvert (R., Calif.), who also criticized the Biden administration's decision. Permits for the event, which is hosted each year by the nonprofit group American Veterans, were approved by the Department of Transportation, the Department of the Interior, and several state-based agencies. The Pentagon's decision to deny the group a permit "leaves patriotic veterans without a safe alternative" to gather, Issa said.

Issa accused the Biden administration of playing politics, particularly as President Joe Biden recently hosted a political rally in Georgia.

"The Rolling to Remember event is no less safe," Issa said. "The only difference is the politics that are denying veterans the opportunity to honor their fallen comrades. If patriotic veterans are not welcome at the Pentagon, are they truly welcome anywhere in the Biden Administration?"