‘I Was Shocked:’ U.S. Capitol Police Stop Youth Choir During National Anthem Performance Sparking Outrage

Video footage showing a children’s choir based in South Carolina being stopped from singing the national anthem in the U.S. Capitol by a Capitol Police officer has gone viral with millions of views.

Capitol Police said young singers with the Rushingbrook Children’s Choir in the southern state were stopped on May 26 due to a “miscommunication.”

The police force initially issued a statement saying they were under the impression the group didn’t have permission to perform in the building but later clarified they “were not aware that the Speaker’s Office had approved this performance.”

David Rasbach, the choir director, and another choir leader, said the Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy of California, approved the visit, which the Speaker’s office confirmed.

“I was shocked, I was dismayed, I was stunned,” said Rasback, who told the Daily Signal he secured permission from three congressional offices to perform at the U.S. Capitol. “I couldn’t believe that was happening, that they would stop the national anthem, of all songs.”

Video of the incident showed the children singing as the Capitol Police officer spoke with two men. One of the men, who appeared to be a congressional staffer, then approached Rasbach. A few moments later, Rasbach motioned to the choir for them to stop singing.

Some members of the GOP accused Capitol Police of taking action against the children due to political bias. Still, the Capitol Police said that is false and accused the congressional staffer of lying “to the officers multiple times about having permission from various offices” in an emailed statement to the Daily Signal.

“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,’” the Capitol Police said. “Here is the truth. Demonstrators 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,” added the statement. “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.”

McCarthy, Republicans disappointed performance cut short

McCarthy, along with three Republican members of Congress involved in inviting the choir to the Capitol, issued a joint statement expressing they were “very disappointed” that the young group’s performance was cut short.

“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,” the three Republicans and McCarthy said. “We are delighted that the People’s House has been reopened particularly to our children, and we look forward to welcoming more Americans back to the halls of Congress.”