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A children’s choir singing the national anthem silenced by Capitol police

Capitol Police silenced a South Carolina children’s choir during their performance of the national anthem in National Hall of Statuary.

David Rasbach, founder and director of the Rushingbrook Children’s Choir, had received prior written approval from three members of Congress — including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) — to perform five songs at the Capitol on Friday, May 26, the Daily Signal reported.

Micah Rea, founder and director of the Rea Group and organizer of the trip, said the group received written approval from South Carolina Republican Representatives William Timmons and Joe Wilson. Additionally, he had a staff member from Rep. Wilson’s office confirm that he was still approved.

Arriving at the Capitol that day, the choir from Greenville, South Carolina, was momentarily stopped by Andrew Tremel, the Capitol Architect’s director of visitor operations, but he allowed them to continue once he received approval via his earpiece, the Western Journal reported.

But before the choir could finish the fourth verse of the national anthem, a female officer asked a staff member to tell Rasbach to end the performance.

Video footage show the officer spoke with the staff member for more than 30 seconds. When he walks away, she taps him on the shoulder, prompting him to stop the performance.

“I was shocked, I was appalled, I was stunned,” Rasbach told the Daily Signal. “I couldn’t believe this was happening, that they would stop the national anthem from all songs.”

Rabach said the officer told him the protest was unauthorized and people were complaining about its offensiveness.

In an email to the Daily Signal, Capitol Police denied the claim that it was closed because people were offended.

Capitol Police said: “Recently someone posted a video of a children’s choir singing the Stars and Stripes in the United States Capitol building and falsely claimed that we had stopped the performance because this “might offend someone”:

Of course, because the singers in this situation were children, our officers were reasonable and allowed the children to complete their beautiful performance of the Star-Spangled Banner. … The congressional staffer who accompanied the group knew the rules, but repeatedly lied to officers about clearing various offices. The staff member put the choir and our officers, who were just doing their jobs, in an uncomfortable and embarrassing position.

Both Rea and Rabach called it an outright lie.

“It’s an outright lie,” Rea told the Daily Signal. “You can clearly see in the video they literally shut him down before he was done singing ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’.”

Capitol Police later released a statement apologizing for the miscommunication in a statement For Newsweek.

“Although pop-up demonstrations and musical performances are not permitted in the US Capitol without proper approval, due to miscommunication, US Capitol police were unaware that the President’s office had approved this performance,” the statement said.

However, this is simply not true. On March 29, a group of 80 pastors sang in the Rotunda.

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