OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Several videos appear to show a female Capitol Police officer intervening to stop a children’s choir from finishing their rendition of the National Anthem.
In one of the videos, the female officer is seen in the background conversing with two other people who are not wearing uniforms while David Rasbach led the Rushingbrook Children’s Choir in their performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
After a few months, the female officer is seen instructing a Capitol staffer to have the singing halted. The staffer walked up to Rasbach, whispered something in his ear, and then Rasbach halts the choir from finishing the anthem inside the Capitol Building.
🚨The Rushingbrook Children’s Choir sang the National Anthem in Statuary Hall. a Capitol Police officer stopped them mid-song. Capitol Police claims they didn’t stop the choir. The choir director tells the whole story in my exclusive interview here. 🚨https://t.co/ZRNbWy75la pic.twitter.com/ijiq4pw3X8
— Tyler O’Neil (@Tyler2ONeil) June 2, 2023
Later, Rasbach explained the incident in an interview with The Daily Signal.
“I was shocked, I was dismayed, I was stunned,” he said of the incident, which occurred on Friday, May 26. “I couldn’t believe that was happening, that they would stop the national anthem of all songs.”
He stated that he had obtained approval from three congressional offices for the choir to perform in the Capitol: South Carolina Republican Reps. William Timmons and Joe Wilson provided documents granting permission, as did the office of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).
According to Micah Rea, the founder and principal of The Rea Group and the organizer of the trip, a staffer from Wilson’s office contacted McCarthy’s office to confirm that the choir had permission to perform. However, despite this confirmation, Capitol Police stopped it anyway.
The Daily Signal added:
Shortly before the choir started singing the national anthem, Andrew Tremel, the visitor operations manager at the Architect of the Capitol, temporarily stopped them from singing. When Rea told Tremel that congressional offices had granted permission, Tremel talked in his earpiece and told the choir they could start singing.
Video footage of the event captures the choir singing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” but it also reveals that the conductor, Rasbach, abruptly stopped the singers before they could complete the fourth verse of the song. Rasbach explained to The Daily Signal that he did so because the female Capitol Police officer had instructed a congressional staffer to halt the singing immediately.
According to Rasbach, the female police officer maintained that the choir’s performance was classified as a demonstration, and demonstrations within the U.S. Capitol are prohibited. She later mentioned that some individuals found the performance offensive, although Rasbach expressed doubt about her assertion. He pointed out that the officer could not have received feedback from those who claimed to be offended “because her time was consumed with us.”
Capitol Police told The Daily Signal in a statement: “Here is the truth. Demonstrations and musical performances are not allowed in the U.S. Capitol.”
“Of course, because the singers in this situation were children, our officers were reasonable and allowed the children to finish their beautiful rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner,” the statement added. “The Congressional staff member who was accompanying the group knew the rules, yet lied to the officers multiple times about having permission from various offices.”
“That’s a bald-faced lie,” Rea told The Daily Signal. “You can see clearly in the video they literally stopped him before they finished singing ‘The Star-Spangled Banner.’”
“That is absolutely, irrefutably wrong,” he added. “She did everything she could to stop us and not let us continue singing, period.”
“That whole thing is a lie,” Rea noted further, The Daily Signal reported. “Capitol Police treats us like we’re some Antifa demonstrators, like little 7-year-old kids.”