Trump Allies Blame Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey for Blocking July 4 Rally in Mobile

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey speaks to supporters after she won the election for Governor at a watch party, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Montgomery, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
AP Photo/Butch Dill

Allies of former President Donald Trump are blaming Gov. Kay Ivey (R) for the cancellation of his scheduled Independence Day rally in Mobile, asserting her office effectively “blocked the people of Alabama from seeing their favorite president,” using bureaucratic nonsense as an excuse.

The Alabama Republican Party had scheduled Trump to speak at the July 4 event, set to take place at the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park. However, the USS Alabama Battleship Commission nixed the plans, pointing to a ban on partisan events.

“After the request was made, then there was contact with the Republican Party, they contacted us and then it became apparent that it was going to be a partisan political event, rather than just a patriotic event planned for that evening,” commission chairman Bill Tunnell said, noting they brought the inquiry to the Attorney General’s Office:

Bill Tunnell, chairman of the Battleship Commission, told FOX10 News that confusion over the proper way to submit the formal question to the Attorney General’s Office delayed when the commission sent the question. He said by the time Marshall responded, the Alabama GOP had moved on because there was not enough time to plan and promote the event.

However, the attorney general concluded the Commission could “allow Commission property to be used for a ‘partisan political event’ provided that access to use the property is available for all political parties and candidates on an equal basis and subject to the same reasonable scheduling restrictions.”

Notably, former presidential candidate Rick Santorum (R) and former state Sen. Bill Hightower (R) have used the park for political events.

Trump allies, meanwhile, are rejecting the commission’s excuse, placing the blame squarely on the governor. A source close to the former president told Breitbart News that the governor appointed the battleship commission and asserted all explanations of the cancellation lead back to her office.

“The governor appointed the battleship commission. Her chief of staff is a former congressman from Mobile. The AG said blocking Trump because it was a ‘partisan political event’ didn’t apply because Trump isn’t a candidate for office,” the source told Breitbart News.

“That fact pattern makes it clear that Ivey’s office blocked the people of Alabama from seeing their favorite president,” the source added. “And they did it because they want to stop MAGA [Rep.] Mo Brooks [R-AL] from being Alabama’s next senator.”

One member of Trump’s team spoke to FOX10 News and also blamed the governor, describing the cancellation as a “purely political decision by the governor’s office.”

State Auditor Jim Zeigler, who is reportedly mulling a gubernatorial bid, also noted that Ivey appointed all of the commissioners.
“The only thing missing was the approval of the commission of the battleship,” Zeigler said. “Now, all of those commissioners are appointed by Governor Ivey, and she serves as an ex officio chair of the commission.”

“All she had to do was ask them to approve it, and they would have,” he added.

Alabama GOP Chairman John Wahl also expressed disappointment, particularly over the lack of communication with the Commission, which did not give them sufficient time to find another venue.

“We have never received confirmation from the Battleship Commission that we were allowed to have the event or that we were not allowed to have the event,” Wahl said. “And because of that lack of communication, we were not able to find another venue and had to cancel this rally.”

Ivey’s office, however, denied any involvement in the cancellation and reiterated the governor’s support for the former president.

“Governor Ivey did not get involved to prevent a Trump rally at the USS Alabama,” her office said in a statement. “She is fully supportive of President Trump and worked closely with him as governor and appreciated his support of our state.”

“It didn’t matter who it was, or what it was,” Tunnell added, defending the Commission’s decision. “We certainly — I mean, my gosh, to have a former president visit the park, that’d be wonderful.”

Trump is slated to speak at a rally in Sarasota, Florida, on July 3.


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