News & Politics

The Maryland Black Republican Council Didn’t Know It Was Supposed to Co-Host GOP Demonstrations in DC

The Maryland Republican Party submitted a permit application with both groups' names.

Lafayette Square was quiet Tuesday night. Photograph by Andrew Beaujon.

On Tuesday, the Maryland Republican Party and the Maryland Black Republican Council were scheduled to co-host the first of two gatherings near the White House. There was just one problem—the Maryland Black Republican Council had no idea it was involved.

A Council official says the Maryland Republicans approached the Council last Wednesday with the idea of co-hosting an event near the White House this week in conjunction with RNC proceedings. Around 10 PM last Thursday, the Council responded, “thanks, but no thanks,” as they didn’t think there was enough time to plan for the event.

Apparently that wasn’t the response the Maryland GOP was expecting, as it filed a permit application with the National Park Service that Thursday at 3:59 PM. On the first page of the permit application, obtained by Washingtonian, the “purpose” section says, “A First Amendment demonstration, coordinated by the Maryland GOP and the Maryland Black Republican Council.” At both Lafayette Square and at Freedom Plaza, the permit application said organizers expected chanting, signs, and banners in support of President Trump.

The Maryland Black Republican Council never received a copy of the permit, the Council official says, and was unaware it was scheduled to host any event until members started seeing their group’s name mentioned in DC protest and event roundups earlier this week. As of Tuesday evening, the Council official was only aware of a Thursday event, and had no idea the Council had technically been liable all Tuesday afternoon for the Maryland GOP’s planned event in Lafayette Square and Freedom Plaza.

Luckily for them, the event was a bust. On Tuesday night, Lafayette Square was empty except for a handful of DC police officers, a self-proclaimed veteran of Occupy DC chatting in a shelter, and a woman carrying a flag and screaming at the White House about Jerry Falwell Jr.’s sex life. The 2,500 people the NPS permit said would be in attendance were not there, nor were they at Freedom Plaza, nor on the Ellipse. The only people to be seen, besides more cops and about a dozen dressed-up folks waiting around the corner on 17th Street to attend Melania Trump’s speech, were three photographers who wondered where everyone was.

Our best guess: at home or in their offices trying to sort out what happened. The Council official said Maryland Republicans and the Council were working Tuesday night to amend the permit as quickly as possible. The Council had sent two requests to NPS to be removed from the permit; the official was unsure what the Maryland Republican Party had done to address the situation. Maryland Republicans have not yet responded to Washingtonian’s request for comment.

Here’s the permit application:

20-1098 Maryland Republican Party Permit_Redacted (1) (1) by Washingtonian Magazine on Scribd

Jane Recker
Assistant Editor

Jane is a Chicago transplant who now calls Cleveland Park her home. Before joining Washingtonian, she wrote for Smithsonian Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times. She is a graduate of Northwestern University, where she studied journalism and opera.