Capitol Police Stop Youth Choir During National Anthem Performance, Sparking Outrage

 June 5, 2023

Video footage showing a South Carolina-based children’s choir being stopped, by a Capitol Police officer, from singing the national anthem in the U.S. Capitol, has gone viral with millions of views. Singers with the Rushingbrook Children’s Choir from Greenville S.C, were reportedly stopped because of a "miscommunication," which occurred May 26th, according to Capitol Police.

In their statement, Capitol Police initially said they were under the impression the group didn’t have permission to perform in the building, but later clarified that they-

"were not aware that the Speaker’s Office had approved this performance."

-U.S. Capitol Police

According to David Rasbach, choir director, and another choir leader, the visit was approved by the Office of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, (R) Calif., which was confirmed by the speaker's office. Rasbach, who said he secured permission from three congressional offices to perform at the U.S. Capitol, told the Daily Signal-

"I was shocked, I was dismayed, I was stunned,"… "I couldn’t believe that was happening, that they would stop the national anthem, of all songs."

-Choir Director David Rasbach, Rushingbrook Children’s Choir, Greenville S.C.

A video of the event showed, a Capitol Police officer speaking with two other men, as the children were singing. One of the men, who appears to be a congressional staffer, then approached the choir director. A few seconds later, Rasbach appears to motion to the choir and cut them off to stop singing.

Accusing Capitol Police of taking-action against the kids due to political bias, some Republicans were quick to speak up. However Capitol Police, said that is untrue, accusing the congressional staffer of lying "to the officers multiple times about having permission from various offices" according to an emailed statement to the Daily Signal. Capitol Police said-

"Recently somebody posted a video of a children’s choir singing the Star-Spangled Banner in the U.S. Capitol Building and wrongfully claimed we stopped the performance because it ‘might offend someone,’" …"Here is the truth. Demonstrations and musical performances are not allowed in the U.S. Capitol."

"Of course, because the singers in this situation were children, our officers were reasonable and allowed the children to finish their beautiful rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner,"…adding. "The Congressional staff member who was accompanying the group knew the rules, yet lied to the officers multiple times about having permission from various offices. The staffer put both the choir and our officers, who were simply doing their jobs, in an awkward and embarrassing position."

-U.S. Capitol Police

House Speaker, Kevin McCarthy and three Republican members of Congress, involved in inviting the group to the Capitol issued a joint statement, saying they were "very disappointed" that the performance was cut short. Reportedly, McCarthy and three House Republicans said-

"We recently learned that schoolchildren from South Carolina were interrupted while singing our National Anthem at the Capitol. These children were welcomed by the Speaker’s Office to joyfully express their love of this nation while visiting the Capitol, and we are all very disappointed to learn their celebration was cut short,"... "We are delighted that the People’s House has been reopened particularly for our children and we look forward to welcoming more Americans back to the halls of Congress."

- McCarthy and three House Republicans

“Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.”

 -Neil Postman
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