Trump Takes National Campaign Against Firefighters from Colorado to Ohio
By Nate Thayer
August 1, 2016
Republican party presidential nominee Donald Trump took his campaign attacking firefighters–the equivalent of calling into question the virtue of Mother Theresa–from Colorado to Ohio today.
In Columbus, Ohio Monday, Trump held a gathering at the Columbus Convention Center and accused the local Fire Marshal of being part of a political conspiracy to prevent his supporters from attending the event.
“ 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. They said in this massive building you are not allowed to have any more than 1000 people. And that is nonsense—we could have had 4,5, 6 thousand people.. They have all been turned away. It is a disgrace,” he told reporters who Trump specifically gathered outside to inform them of his conclusion. “So that is for political reasons they have been turned away. And that is too bad. So we have a thousand people in there. They won’t allow any more. The Fire Marshall 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. C’mon, let’s go have a good time,” Trump told reporters. And then he entered the convention hall.
Once inside, he 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 1000 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.”
But interviews with Columbus, Ohio Fire Department officials and Columbus Convention Center officials who inked the agreement with Trump took significant exception to Trump’s version of what transpired.
“We have an event agreement signed by Trump’s people 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 1000, that was when the Trump campaign decided it would be a “Town Hall” meeting,” said Convention Center spokesperson Jennifer Davis in a telephone interview.
“That was the plan all along,” Columbus Fire Department Battalion Chief Steve Martin told ABC News. “We feel disappointed that Mr. Trump wasn’t aware of how that number was reached and that it was agreed to by his own people,” when they reserved and paid for the specific space last Friday, Martin said. He said Trump’s claims of political manipulation to prevent Trump supporters from attending the event were not true, and the only reason for the limited crowd size was the fire code. “Life safety is always paramount no matter what the event is,” he said. “The code is in place for a reason.”
Martin told ABC News that while the building where the campaign event was held is capable of accommodating more than 1,000 people, the space that the Trump campaign had booked is limited to 1,000.
Convention Center spokesperson Jennifer Davis said that Trump’s campaign “rented exhibit hall E. There was a public show that happened there just before the Trump campaign came. We were able to provide the Trump campaign part of that space. They took possession of the Hall “E” at 12:01 am this morning. That was in the written agreement. That was when the Wizard World Comicon Columbus event finished. They had a comic book convention, people from the Wrestling WWE that signed autographs, the Batmobile, that kind of thing.”
In November 2015, Trump’s campaign rented space at the Convention Center that included “Hall ‘E’, ‘F’, and part of Hall ‘D’. When the Trump people realized that, unlike November, it was not going to be the same space, that is when they thought it was better to have what they called a “Town Hall” event.”
“Community safety comes first,” Rebecca Diehm, spokeswoman for the Columbus Fire Department, told the Columbus Dispatch newspaper. Columbus Fire Department spokesperson: “I would say that the Fire Marshal is an assistant chief who has come up through the ranks and it is not an appointed position and any decisions that were made are absolutely not politically motivated.”
Assistant Columbus Fire Chief Jim Cannell confirmed fire officials met with Trump’s staff Friday. “The space was limited to 1000 people due to safety concerns. They knew that was the plan, that it was 1000 people max,” Cannell said, adding. “We are just doing our job.”
“We are not going to make a big deal about it. Our people did exactly what they were supposed to. It is our job to protect the people that come to our city and to follow the rules and that is what we did.,” said Columbus Battalion Commander Steve Martin. “ We are just doing our job.”
Trump will be focusing his effort to win the presidency in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania — must-win states to be elected president of the United States.
“I’m afraid the election is going to be rigged, I have to be honest,” Trump told the crowd at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
On Saturday, Trump also attacked firefighters he accused of politically motivated efforts to prevent his supporters from accessing his rented venue space.
The Colorado firefighters’ union responded Monday that “occupancy levels are set to protect the public’s safety and we find it unfortunate that Trump’s campaign would question our judgment. Colorado Springs firefighters know exactly what we are doing—we are professionals and we take our jobs very seriously. Occupancy levels are set to protect the safety of the people.”
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 for more people after fire officials had determined the space at reached its maximum safety limits.
Breitbart News, a right wing pro Trump internet news service field the conspiracy fire by writing today “Thousands were turned away from a Trump Rally today in Columbus Ohio as it appears the political arm of the DNC, via the Democrat Mayor Andrew Ginther, and Democrat Fire Marshal Kevin O’Conner, blocked attendance to the Trump event. Before going on stage to a restricted audience of 1,000, Donald Trump informed the media of the political manipulation. Additionally, anyone who has ever done these events will tell you: you rarely, if ever, see the fire marshal get involved. These capacity issues are driven by the venue owners and managers, in this instance the Greater Columbus Convention Center.”
“It’s unfortunate,” Trump told a crowd in Colorado Springs, Colorado on Saturday. “But it’s not my fault. I just came here. This is why this country is going to hell. We deal with this same thing in Washington all the time”
“So I have to tell you this. This is why our country doesn’t work. We have plenty of space here. We have thousands of people outside trying to get in. And we have a fire marshal that said, ‘Oh we can’t allow more people.’”
in Colorado, Trump said “the reason they won’t let them in is because they don’t know what the hell they’re doing. Hey, maybe they’re a Hillary person. Could that be possible? Probably. I don’t think there are too many of them.”
Trump compared the fire marshal’s decision to limit the event’s capacity to “the kind of thing we have in federal government. Then you wonder why we’re going to hell. That’s why we’re going to hell.”
“We have thousands of people trying to get in and we have a fire marshal that says ‘No, we can’t allow more people in.’”
“Now because of your fire marshal, who I am not a fan of, he’s probably a Democrat, probably a guy than doesn’t get it, I’m going to go into the other room and say hello to people that didn’t get your location,” Trump said at the end of his speech, still obsessed by the Fire Marshall.
In Columbus, Ohio Monday, Trump told the crowd “We had thousands of people outside, thousands. They were turned away—for political reasons—purely for political reasons. They said in this massive building you are not allowed to have any more than 1000 people. And that is nonsense—we could have had 4,5, 6 thousand people. They have all been turned away. It is a disgrace,” Trump told the crowd inside the convention center.”
Columbus, Ohio Battalion Chief Steve Martin, the Public Information Officer for the Columbus Division of Fire, said “We feel disappointed that Mr. Trump wasn’t aware of how that number was reached and that it was agreed to by his own people.”
“We are just doing our job.”