By Nate Thayer
July 31, 2016
Donald Trump demonstrated a degree of breathtaking self-obsession in Colorado yesterday that was as revealing as a psychological profile of the republican nominee for president as it was in its political self-destructiveness.
Early Friday afternoon, Trump got stuck in an elevator at his hotel in Colorado Springs, Colorado on his way to a major speech in a state critical to winning his quest for the presidency.
At 1:30 PM, the call went out to local firefighters that there was a need to rescue ten people trapped in an elevator at The Mining Exchange, a Wyndham Grand Hotel where the republican presidential nominee for head of the Free World was staying.
The presidential hopeful was trapped between the first and second floor, according to the Colorado Springs Fire Department. “The firefighters were able to secure the elevator, open the top elevator hatch, lower a ladder into the elevator which allowed all individuals to self-evacuate, including Mr. Trump, onto the second floor lobby area,” said Steven Wilch with the CSFD.
The rescue effort by the first responder firefighters took 30 minutes to extract the trapped guests.
It turns out, Trump’s personal security team asked for and was given control of the hotel’s elevators during his visit to Colorado Springs, the Associated Press quoted a co-owner of the hotel, Perry Sanders Jr., as saying. “The party were model guests but security insisted on having manual control of the elevators,” Sanders said.
After the occupants were rescued, technicians for the elevator company found that the cause of the malfunction to the 4-year old elevator was because someone from Trump’s entourage turned the manual key to off while the elevator was moving, Sanders said.
Trump was scheduled to speak at a nearby venue where crowds had gathered for a 2:00 PM event, to which Trump was an hour late as a result of the emergency efforts of the firefighters.
Colorado Springs police blocked the southbound lanes of Nevada Avenue on the hotel’s east side, and Trump’s motorcade, led by two police cars and a half-dozen unmarked SUVs – pulled out of the alley about 2:30 p.m.
The Colorado Springs Fire Department is the same fire department that employs Fire Marshal Brett Lacey, who Trump immediately launched into in a bizarre rant accusing the Fire Marshall of being incompetent, of being a secret supporter of Hillary Clinton, and an example of what is wrong with America to the crowd of 1500.
Trump arrived on stage with a crowd of 1500 in attendance, stomped onto the stage grumpy and genuinely annoyed, and accused 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”.
Donald Trump launched into a full verbal assault against Fire Marshal Brett Lacey over not letting more people into the event, calling Lacey “disgraceful” and questioned the fire marshal’s 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.
Trump said the fire marshal Lacey didn’t know what he was doing and was “probably a Democrat.”
“If you want to piss people off in Colorado, denounce firefighters,” said a journalist who attended the Trump rally. “They are heroes here. There have been some awful wildfires in the state in the past few years and some around Colorado Springs. There are signs out on the rural roads and in front of churches in Colorado thanking firefighters and saying things like ‘God Bless fire fighters’. So Trump’s attack on a fire marshal was just strange and probably not politically astute in Colorado— or probably anywhere.”
“He’s probably a Democrat,” Trump said about the fire marshal again at the end of his speech. “He’s probably a guy that doesn’t get it.”
When asked by a reporter whether he was a democrat or republican, Lacey answered: “Yes,” and smiled. “Go check the voter registration records. You might be surprised.”
So I did.
In fact, a check of Colorado election records available through the state Secretary of State office show that Fire Marshal Brett Lacey has been a registered republican since 1993, according to the Colorado state voter registration database.
“It’s unfortunate,” Trump told the crowd, “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.’”
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.’”
But Colorado Springs officials said the capacity for the event 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 a reserved and polite Fire Marshall Lacey.
In addition, local television stations and newspapers reported that the Trump Campaign continued to take online ticket reservations well beyond the maximum number agreed to days before the event by Trump’s organizers and city officials.
“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.
“I will note I don’t think that Mr. Trump interestingly enough did anything out of the ordinary other than potentially lash out at the fire department which seemed a little peculiar but he did not come out of that in any sort of bad spirits as best I can tell,” said Mining Exchange Hotel Co-owner Perry R. Sanders.
Sanders said that, in fact, Trump’s organization had been given a key to control the elevator during their stay at the hotel.
The Colorado Springs Fire Department responded to Trump’s prolonged outburst saying “The venue holds 2,500 people. That includes the overflow area. The Colorado Springs Fire Marshal was working in conjunction with UCCS prior to the event to make it a smooth and seamless event for all involved…The occupancy load was set and agreed upon prior to the event. No one was restricted by the Colorado Springs Fire Department from entering the building. Organizers allowed the maximum number of people in the facility as per fire code based on a number that was determined well before Friday’s event.”
“There’s an old adage that when a fire marshal walks into a room, milk curdles. So because we’re always looking out for public safety and trying to make certain venues go off successfully and safely sometimes there are people that aren’t very happy with some of the rules and regulations we’re required to enforce. But it doesn’t bother me at all,” Lacey told a local TV station
One attendee at the Trump rally told a local TV outlet that “a UCCS (University of Colorado at Colorado Springs) employee said that Trump campaign organizers handed out 10,000 tickets to the event; the Gallogly Events Center was only set up to handle 2,500 people.”
“I think I have the best temperament, or certainly one of the best temperaments, of anybody who has ever run,” Trump said during his speech in Colorado Springs.
“Picking a fight with local firefighters is exactly a recipe to not get elected in these parts,” a Colorado Springs journalist said.
“Rent a venue with space for 1500. Give out 10,000 tickets. Blame the fire marshal for all the people who can’t get in! I’m proud to be Brett Lacey’s Union Brother! #IAFF #BrettLacey,” tweeted another firefighter from Michigan.