Rally that would have featured former President Trump this weekend canceled in Alabama

Posted at 5:20 PM, Jun 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-29 17:20:45-04

A rally planned for this weekend at the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile, Alabama has been scrapped.

The featured speaker was to have been former President Donald Trump.

The battleship is a state park and leaders say there were concerns this wasn't just a Fourth of July celebration, but rather a partisan political rally.

The USS Alabama battleship commission recently considered the event for this Saturday night.

Pete Riehm, a local tea party activist familiar with the discussions happening behind the scenes, says the event began to unravel when the commission raised concerns about how political the rally would become.

"Oh, there was gonna be a huge fireworks show like akin to what you saw at Mount Rushmore last year. In the bay, behind the bows -- it would've been off the hook. It would've been crazy," Riehm said. "I mean, honestly, I feel like some people just didn't want it. Just didn't want -- not just didn't want *it* -- didn't want President Trump."

Bill Tunnell, who chairs the commission, says they even sought an opinion from the attorney general's office in late May.

"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," Tunnell said.

WPMI news obtained the attorney general's response, which stated there wasn't enough time for a formal opinion to be given, but did note the park may be used for political events provided access is "available for all political parties and candidates on an equal basis."

In 2012, presidential hopeful Rick Santorum used the park for a rally.

"Santorum was the, was the straw that broke the camel's back, and that's when the commission went to the no partisan politics open to the public position," Tunnell said.

"If the people can't assemble in public places, where can we assemble?" asked Riehm.

John Wahl, the chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, said former President Trump had committed for Saturday night, that he was excited to speak to the port city and he's disappointed the event is not moving forward.