Oh, and that Colorado fire marshal Trump accused of being a Democrat? He’s a Republican.
By Nate Thayer
August 02, 2016
Here is the text of my piece in Politico magazine published this evening. The story is partly based on documents obtained that show that Donald Trump and his senior campaign officials were aware and had signed written agreements with Columbus, Ohio officials that the maximum attendance at the Trump rally in Columbus, Ohio Monday was limited to 1000 people, based on city fire safety codes.
Read the entire article with documents at the below link: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/08/donald-trump-2016-rally-size-214132#ixzz4GDVvAHjc
By Nate Thayer
August 2, 2016
When Donald Trump puts his foot into something, he just can’t seem to get it out.
On Monday the GOP nominee continued his battle with America’s firefighters at a rally at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Ohio, where he accused the local fire marshal and city officials of being part of a political conspiracy to prevent his supporters from attending the event. Trump had made similar accusations at an overcrowded rally in Colorado Springs on Friday.
“I just want to tell you we’ve had thousands of people outside, thousands. They were turned away—for political reasons—purely for political reasons,” Trump told reporters Monday just prior to the event. They said in this massive building you are not allowed to have any more than 1,000 people. And that is nonsense—we could have had 4, 5, 6,000 people. They have all been turned away. It is a disgrace.”
The problem with Trump’s charges? His own senior campaign staff officials were fully aware and had agreed in writing that the Trump event in Columbus was to be restricted to a maximum of 1,000 people, according to documents signed on Friday, July 29, between the Trump campaign and Columbus Convention Center for the Monday event, and obtained by Politico.
trrump ohio contract
The documents, provided by Columbus Convention Center officials and the city fire department, show that senior Trump officials agreed to the terms four days prior to Monday’s event.
The “event acknowledgement” document was agreed to by senior Trump campaign official John Hiller on July 29 and specified a maximum attendance of “800+ media (not to exceed 1,000 per Fire marshal and contract).” The document states the terms of the “by invitation” Trump “Town Hall” event was “Fire marshal approved.”
The July 29 contract to secure the event space was signed by both Greater Columbus Convention Center General Manager John Page and Donald Trump for President Treasurer Timothy Jost, with each page of the document initialed by Jost.
The documents directly contradict the account that Trump gave to reporters on Monday, when he said: “The fire marshal said he is not allowed to allow any more even though the building holds many thousands of people. I will just tell you that it is politics at its lowest. You ought to check it out. But it is really politics at its lowest. So that is for political reasons they have been turned away,” Trump told reporters.
According to Jennifer Davis, the marketing director for the Greater Columbus Convention Center facility, “The event agreement signed by Trump’s people was executed Friday evening. The Trump people said they expected 800 people plus 200 media. There were several individuals from Trump’s campaign at the meeting. When the maximum capacity was made clear by the city fire marshal at 1,000, that was when the Trump campaign decided it would be a [smaller] ‘Town Hall’ meeting.”
Columbus Assistant Fire Chief Jim Cannell confirmed that fire officials met with Trump’s staff Friday. “The space was limited to 1,000 people due to safety concerns. They knew that was the plan, that it was 1,000 people max,” Cannell said, adding: “We are just doing our job.”
Columbus Fire Department Battalion Chief Steve Martin told ABC News: “That was the plan all along and “it was agreed to by his own people.” Martin said allegations by Trump that political manipulation to prevent Trump supporters from attending the event were not true and that the fire code was the only reason the crowd size was limited. “Life safety is always paramount no matter what the event is,” he said. “The code is in place for a reason.”
Indeed, further undercutting Trump’s allegations, the agreement to have a maximum capacity of 1,000 attendees appeared to have been confirmed by Trump’s own organizers prior to the event. “The event in Columbus is a Town Hall so it is purposefully limited seating!” said a tweet from USAforTrump2016 early on Monday, hours before the event began. “Stay tuned and check the Live Stream!”
But once inside the event hall, Trump launched immediately again into an attack on the Columbus fire department and city officials. “I have to tell you, the fire marshal turned away thousands of people. They turned away thousands of people. Look at the size of this place. They turned away thousands. They were given orders that no more than 1,000 people could attend,” Trump told the crowd. “Now, Hillary Clinton. I have a picture here, which is really sad. She had last week, or a couple of days ago, look at it, totally empty. Is the mayor a Democrat over here? That’s what I heard. He ought to be ashamed of himself. They turned away thousands of people. But that makes it better for you, right?” Trump said to the audience. “Nah, it is very sad. You know it shouldn’t be so much about politics, folks. Well, we are going to be a town hall, so we are going to be talking about questions and this and that.”
Two days earlier, on Saturday, Trump also accused firefighters of politically motivated efforts to prevent his supporters from accessing his rented venue space in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Trump arrived at the Colorado Springs event with a crowd of 1,500 in attendance and began his speech accusing Colorado Springs Fire Marshal Brett Lacey of being “a Hillary person.” He said the Colorado Springs Fire Department have “no idea what the hell they’re doing,” called Lacey “disgraceful,” said Lacey was “probably a Democrat,” and questioned his competence. Lacey was recently honored by the city as “Civilian of the Year” for his role in helping the wounded at a 2015 mass shooting at a local Planned Parenthood clinic.
In fact, a check of the Colorado voter registration database, available through the Colorado secretary of state’s office, shows that Lacey has been a registered Republican since 1993.
And, as in Ohio, Colorado Springs officials said the capacity had been agreed to by Trump’s event planners and city officials “well before the event.”
“If the event people wanted to have more people inside, we have a number of venues in Colorado Springs that they could have secured,” said Lacey.
It is not the first time Trump has attacked firefighters. In Alabama in February 2016, Trump told a crowd, “Let them come in, Mr. Fire Marshall,” criticizing the closing of the venue to more people after fire officials had determined the space had reached its safety limit.
But it appears that Trump’s campaign does not yet have its own story straight.