Appearing Wednesday at a joint hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the Natural Resources Committee, National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis found himself admitting that President Barack Obama was well aware of the strategy the Park Service was implementing to turn away veterans from open-air memorials as soon as the government shutdown went into effect:
In the video, Congressman John Mica (R-Fla.), who sits on the Oversight Committee, questions Jarvis specifically about the public outcry over his agency barricading and policing the high-visibility sites at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
MICA: Now you said you take full responsibility for that action. Is that correct?
JARVIS: That’s correct.
MICA: And did you discuss this with the Secretary of the Interior, [Sally] Jewell, at any time?
JARVIS: Yes, I did.
MICA: … Then you didn’t discuss it with anyone in the White House, did you?
JARVIS: Ahm, in — several times on the phone with the White House, I presented with the Secretary my decision, but there was never the reverse. There was never any [unintelligible] coming in. [Mica cuts him off.]
MICA: So you discussed with officials in the White House your action, and you also discussed it with her.
Jarvis appeared to be ready to qualify the nature of those discussions — likely in an effort to absolve the President of any culpability in concocting the “make ’em hurt” strategy — but Mica had already gotten the information he wanted and was ready to move on.