A video capturing the moment a children’s choir from South Carolina was stopped from singing the national anthem in the U.S. Capitol by a Capitol Police officer has gone viral, generating millions of views and sparking widespread condemnation.
Capitol Police Stops Youth Choir’s National Anthem Performance
Video footage of the incident shows the children singing while a Capitol Police officer engages in conversation with two individuals.
One of them, who appears to be a congressional staffer, approaches Choir director David Rasbach, and a few seconds later, Rasbach signals the choir to stop singing.
The incident, which took place on May 26, was initially attributed to a “miscommunication” by Capitol Police, Fox News reported. They stated that they were under the impression that the Rushingbrook Children’s Choir from Greenville did not have the authorization to perform in the Capitol building.
However, they later clarified that they were unaware that the performance had been approved by the office of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., a confirmation later confirmed by the speaker’s office itself.
The Capitol Police released a statement asserting that demonstrations and musical performances are not allowed in the U.S. Capitol.
They clarified that, despite the breach of protocol, the officers allowed the children to finish their rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner due to their age and the circumstances. They placed the blame on the congressional staffer for misleading both the choir and the officers involved.
Capitol Police Faces Criticisms
Choir director David Rasbach, who had obtained permission from three congressional offices for the performance, expressed his shock and dismay at the interruption of the national anthem.
Some Republicans have accused Capitol Police of displaying political bias by interfering with the children’s performance. However, Capitol Police vehemently denied these claims, alleging that the congressional staffer had repeatedly lied “to the officers multiple times about having permission from various offices,” according to an emailed statement to the Daily Signal.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, along with three Republican members of Congress who were instrumental in inviting the choir to perform at the Capitol, expressed their disappointment over the premature end to the performance.
They issued a joint statement, conveying their dissatisfaction with the interruption and reaffirming their commitment to welcoming Americans back to the halls of Congress.
As of now, Capitol Police have not responded to requests for comment.