May 27 (UPI) — President Donald Trump vowed Sunday that the Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally will return to Washington D.C., amid plans to end the event this year.
Trump made the declaration before the annual Memorial Day weekend rally for veterans, prisoners of war and service members, which sees members of the veterans advocacy group ride their motorcycles through the streets of the capital, as organizers said the event was no longer viable due to lack of funding and pressure from police and the Pentagon.
“The Great Patriots of Rolling Thunder WILL be coming back to Washington, D.C. next year, and hopefully for many years to come,” the president wrote. “It is where they want to be and where they should be. Have a wonderful time today. Thank you to our great men and women of the Pentagon for working it out.”
He also tweeted about Rolling Thunder on Saturday, saying he would help to facilitate further events.
“Can’t believe Rolling Thunder would be given a hard time with permits in Washington, D.C. They are great Patriots who I have gotten to know and see in action,” Trump said. “They love our Country and love our Flag. If I can help, I will.”
Rolling Thunder founder Artie Mueller said he believes Trump “means well” but he wasn’t sure about the White House’s plans to help the event continue.
“There would have to be a lot of discussion and a lot of changes for everybody who comes here and our organizations that help with this together,” he said.
Although the event drew more than half a million participants in 2018, Mueller said in December that it would end after 31 years because of rising costs and “increased harassment” from the Pentagon, ABC News reported.
Pentagon representative Sue Gough issued a statement to the network in December saying it was prepared to continue to support Rolling Thunder moving forward.
“The department supports the peaceful, lawful exercise of American citizens’ First Amendment rights and remains focused on ensuring safety and security of the demonstrators and the Pentagon Reservation,” Gough said.