An upcoming rally that was meant to have Trump as its keynote speaker in Mobile, Alabama, has been called off over concerns that the weekend event would become overtly partisan, it was recently revealed.
The rally was meant to be held on July 3 at the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park with the belief that the festivities would serve as a patriotic event to mark the US’ Independence Day, a federal holiday celebrated throughout the extended weekend.
Bill Tunnel, who serves as the commission chairman for the park, told local station WPMI that the Saturday speaking engagement was nixed after park commissioners realized that the celebratory event was beginning to turn into a “partisan political event.”
“After the request was made, then there was contact with the Republican Party,” Tunnell recalled. “[Party officials] 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.”
In late May, commissioners moved to obtain an opinion from the attorney general’s office on the event; however, as there was insufficient time for a formal declaration, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall dispatched a letter instead. The correspondence declared the park can be used for political events, so long as access is made “available for all political parties and candidates on an equal basis.”
In light of the decision to cancel the speaking event, John Wahl, who serves as the chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, told the outlet that the former commander-in-chief has relayed that he is disappointed with the cancellation.
The Saturday event would have marked yet another campaign-style rally for the former president, who is scheduled to host his second post-presidency rally in Tampa, Florida, over the weekend. Trump’s first rally after splitting from the White House was held in Ohio in late June.
With speculation running wild over claims that Gov. Kay Ivey (R-AL) was at the root of the event’s cancellation, the governor’s spokesperson, Gina Maiola, relayed to the Yellowhammer News that the state official “did not get involved” in the matter, and was “fully supportive” of Trump.
“The battleship commissioners approached our office out of concern of a statute that says you cannot use state property for political purposes,” Maiola explained. “The governor and her team expressed that that law would not bar this event from happening and encouraged them to seek an opinion from the attorney general.”
The last political event that was hosted at the park was for former Sen. Rick Santorum’s (R-PA) presidential campaign in 2012. Tunnel told the local station that Santorum was the “straw that broke the camel’s back” when it came to the commission’s decision to bar public partisan events at the site.