Trump Made His Interior Secretary Lift Lincoln Memorial Event Ban To Allow Fox News Town Hall

Donald Trump bragged about having his latest Fox News town hall at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday, saying, “I don’t think it’s ever been done, what we’re doing tonight.”

For once, he’s right: It hasn’t been done before.

That’s because, as The New York Times reported on Monday, such events “meant to draw an audience inside the interior” are prohibited.

But that didn’t stop the president from putting his and Fox News’ stain on the Lincoln Memorial.

According to The Times, “[W]hen the president sat down with two Fox News anchors at Lincoln’s marbled feet during a coronavirus-focused virtual ‘town hall,’ it was because a directive issued by David Bernhardt, the secretary of the interior, had allowed them to do so.”

The report notes that the interior secretary ordered the venue “temporarily closed,” citing the pandemic, so Trump could pull off his latest reality TV stunt.

More from The New York Times:

“Given the extraordinary crisis that the American people have endured, and the need for the president to exercise a core governmental function to address the nation about an ongoing public-health crisis,” Mr. Bernhardt wrote in an order issued Friday, “I am exercising my authority to facilitate the opportunity for the president to conduct this address within the Lincoln Memorial.”

The directive surprised officials at the National Park Service, who are used to scrambling to fill requests from the Trump White House, including making sure Army tanks can safely be parked on the National Mall, as they had to do last summer for an Independence Day celebration the president presided over using the Lincoln Memorial as a backdrop.

Mr. Bernhardt’s action enraged critics, who complained that Mr. Trump had essentially conducted a partisan open mic night. But it pleased Mr. Trump and his aides, who had succeeded in creating the element of presidential sweep that he had been craving after weeks of negative news coverage and Twitter outbursts.

Lincoln is rolling over in his grave

From day one, when he threw a tantrum about the crowd size at his inauguration, Donald Trump has debased the presidency.

But watching him amp up the reality TV drama in the middle of a pandemic – as the U.S. death toll continues to climb rapidly – has been particularly disturbing and repugnant.

It’s just the latest confirmation that nothing – not even a global health emergency – will shift this president’s focus away from his own political survival.

Watching Donald Trump sit at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial for a political stunt on Sunday was a reminder of just how small a man and president he is.

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