In May 2020, President Trump violated the rules governing the use of the Lincoln Memorial in order to use the solemn chamber for his own vanity project: a prime time interview with FOX News. The interior of the Memorial is not available for special events or demonstrations so as not to violate the sanctity, solemnity, and contemplative nature of that space. The lower steps and plaza are open for permitted use, as was famously used by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for the 1963 March on Washington.
On the heels of Trump's interview, the PCJF filed a FOIA demand for the records documenting this abuse of the Lincoln Memorial. We've finally obtained a first round of responses which we are releasing below.
The documents demonstrate that because FOX News could not obtain a permit for the use of the chamber (as such use is not allowed), President Trump and his political appointees at the Department of the Interior ran roughshod over the governing regulations and also turned the FOX News interview into a taxpayer-expense government event. They cancelled leave for hundreds of law enforcement and other government employees with virtually no notice and forced agencies into a chaotic scramble to accommodate this major undertaking in five days, all in the midst of the early stages of a deadly pandemic when the country was in lockdown.
Read the FOIA records below or here.