This is a completely misleading way to frame the story. First of all, it’s not “Trump’s Presidential Inauguration Committee”—the inaugural committee is not directed by the incoming administration, and for what it’s worth, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are members. Here is what’s actually happening: Some months ago, as it does up to a year before any presidential inauguration, the NPS filed a blanket permit request on behalf of the inaugural committee, effectively reserving the National Mall, the area around the White House, and their environs (including the Lincoln Memorial) for whatever inauguration festivities the committee might want to plan. That permit request covers several days before and after inauguration, to account for after-events and the set-up and take-down of bleachers, barriers, stages, and security.
That’s the main reason why claims that the Women’s March on Washington is being “barred” from the Lincoln Memorial are untrue. As the NPS spokesman told me last month, even if the inaugural committee didn’t have a lock on the space, four other organizations had already applied for permits at that location by the time the Women’s March on Washington got its application in. The NPS issues permits on a first-come, first-served basis, so all four of those organizations would come first. And since it’s public land, any ralliers can come protest at that location even if they don’t have a permit; they just probably won’t be able to set up a stage and sound equipment like they’d hoped. More likely, the NPS will help them find a different location nearby. That’s a shame for people who wanted the historic steps of the Lincoln Memorial, but it’s not the inaugural committee’s fault.
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