Trump campaign’s lack of organization leaves supporters out in the cold
Despite 10-degree weather and light flurries falling from the sky, a line of people formed outside the John Wayne birthplace and museum, in Winterset, Iowa, to see Donald Trump.
Men, women and children appealed to the people waiting by selling Trump buttons, t-shirts and ‘Make America great again’ hats.
“We shall overcomb, guys,” a child holding buttons yelled.
Inside, Aissa Wayne, John Wayne’s daughter, was endorsing the Republican presidential candidate. But outside, an estimated 150 attendees stood in the elements waiting to get a glimpse of the candidate.
After waiting in line for half an hour, those remaining–including my team and I–were told by security that there was no room left in the museum and we should wait outside. We followed the rest of the line and slid past security gates that were blocking what we were later told was a “secure area.”
At this point, another security guard informed us that what we were doing was not allowed. This guard instructed the other security personnel that “you don’t put don’t dirty people with clean people,” in reference to the fact that some attendees had gone through security while others had not.
One guard’s response: “It’s not like an Iowa Wild game where we do this all the time. We just aren’t always prepared for this.”
After security checked our purses and took our pens, we were escorted right back outside into the cold.
Even some of those with tickets were forced to wait for Trump outside: the museum was at capacity at 10 a.m., half an hour before the event was scheduled to begin.
The disorganization of this event turned off some event-goers.
“I thought we were going to be inside, so I guess I’m really disappointed about that because it’s freezing and it’s snowing. So that sucks,” said Kyrell Newell, a Drake University student who was at the event with friends, but is not a Trump supporter.
Newell had signed-up for a ticket on Trump’s Eventbrite, and still didn’t get in, which has happened at Trump events before.
But other supporters who received tickets were unfazed by the chaos.
“They didn’t have a large enough venue to put it in, and who can control the weather in Iowa?” Trump supporter Doug Holiday said. “You know it is winter in Iowa.”
As we stood in the cold, some of Trump’s security began to ask: “Everyone know where to caucus? Anyone have any questions about the caucus?”
People asked questions ranging from where their precinct is to if they can register on caucus night. The security guard was happy to answer.
“You can walk in as a Democrat, vote as a Republican, (then) leave and re-register as a Democrat on the way to the car. It is very simple.”
The Trump team seems to be very aware that informing his supporters — even in the freezing weather — will help him win Iowa.
At 11 a.m. Trump security began to brief the crowd on how to behave once Trump made his appearance.
“We don’t want pushing or things of that nature,” Trump security said. “If he is going to sign something, he has a pen. We do not want people pulling out pens or things of that nature. That makes us nervous, and we don’t want to be nervous because we have to make sure that he makes it out of here safe.”
Several small chants of “We want Trump” erupted in the crowd during the wait, but each died out quickly.
Finally, after about 45 minutes of enduring freezing toes, fans greeted Trump’s long-awaited arrival by yelling his name and asking him to sign magazines or shake hands.
“Tell them to caucus,” a staffer said to Trump.
“If they are going to stand out here, they are going to caucus,” Trump said to the crowd.
But will they? We won’t know for sure until February 1, and after Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Trump shortly after his Winterset stop, who knows?
Alicia Anderson, Abbi Nelson, Kyle Stratton and Tim Webber also contributed to this post.