Sarah Palin tried to bring her carnival sideshow to the annual Rolling Thunder Ride to the Wall Sunday but the bikers quickly put her in her place — “riding bitch” on the back of another woman’s Harley-Davidson.
Palin tried to turn an uninvited visit to the gathering of biker veterans and supporters into a photo op to kick off another of her bus tours but event organizers told her that she was welcome to ride on a bike in the event but did not let her speak or become part of the official program.
Many of the hundreds of thousands of bikers who gathered in the Pentagon’s north parking lot weren’t aware of Palin’s presence at the event and some of those who did weren’t happy about it.
“Tell the bitch to go home,” said “Duke” Cantwell, a grizzled Harley rider from Missouri. “She ain’t welcome here. What’s next? We gonna have Jane Fonda riding bitch on a Harley?”
Tom Lawson, a biker from Montana, said politicians like Palin shouldn’t try to use the annual ride that focuses on missing in action veterans for political opportunism.
“She’s not one of us,” Lawson said. “She’s just another loud-mouthed politician trying to cash in.”
Shirley Hamilton, a biker mother of a Iraq war vet, said Palin should take her sideshow elsewhere.
“This event is for people who honestly care about veterans who are prisoners or who remain missing,” Hamilton said. “Sarah Palin doesn’t care about anything but herself. She doesn’t belong here.”
Some, however, said Palin was welcome to ride but didn’t see any need for the media to focus on her visit.
“If she wants to ride then let her ride,” said Jerry Symington of Missouri. “As long as she keeps her mouth shut she’s as welcome as anyone.”
Anti-Palin sentiment also spilled over on Rolling Thunder’s Facebook page with some comparing Palin to Fonda a target of hate and scorn from Vietnam vets angered over her trip to Hanoi and defense of the enemy during that Southeast Asia conflict.
Rolling Thunder Security personnel also kept the press at bay, especially when they threatened to run amok among the motorcycles of participants. The Washington Post reported that one security staffer grabbed a newsman by the throat and pushed him away.
Palin first claimed she had been invited to participate in Rolling Thunder but event organizers said she had not been invited and would not be part of the program. A request form Palin’s organization to allow her gaudy bus to roll along the parade route was rejected.
Rolling Thunder legislative director Ted Shpak said he didn’t appreciate the way Palin came into the event.
“If she wanted to come on the ride she should have come in the back,” he said.
But Palin came long after the north parking lot was full of bikers who waited for four to five hours for their lines to start on the ride. Palin came in the front and rode on the back of one bike. Her husband Todd rode another bike with daughter Piper on the back and Bristol Palin rode with another biker.
Still, when the ride ended at the wall, Rolling Thunder staff kept Palin away from the stage and the spotlight. She was not allowed to speak.
- Sarah Palin causes stir at Rolling Thunder – CBS News (news.google.com)
- Sarah Palin Not Invited to Speak at Biker Rally (slog.thestranger.com)
- Veterans’ Group Spokesperson: We Did Invite Sarah Palin To Rolling Thunder Event (mediaite.com)
- Rolling Thunder to Keep Focus on Troops Despite Palin’s Appearance (foxnews.com)