Trump campaign pays Fairfield $23k for rally work
FAIRFIELD — Perhaps taking a lesson from other communities that have hosted presidential candidates, the Fairfield Police Department got payment up front from Donald J. Trump’s national campaign for Saturday’s rally at Sacred Heart University.
Deputy Chief Chris Lyddy said during the two days the town had to prepare for the rally, Sacred Heart indicated that it was merely renting the Pitt Center facility to the campaign and would not be covering any police overtime.
“So, we entered into negotiations with the national campaign, and they wired us money to cover the expense,” Lyddy said. The department received a prepayment of $23,000, and while they are still tabulating the final costs, “it’s going to be real close.”
Police, as well as some firefighters, were on the campus starting around 10 a.m., and did not leave until just after 11 p.m. Visitors were not allowed onto the campus grounds until 1 p.m., and the doors to the venue opened at 4p.m., with the rally starting at 6 p.m. Trump himself was about a half-hour late, and started speaking close to 8 p.m.
Because of a malfunctioning air conditioning system, and over 4,000 people inside the gymnasium, about five people were taken out on stretchers, overcome by the heat and humidity.
Four protestors were also ejected from the rally, and there was one physical altercation, Lyddy said, but no arrests. The ejections were made by Trump campaign staff, he said.
Those still left inside after Trump finished speaking were urged to stay indoors as a dangerous thunderstorm hit the area, with high winds, heavy rains and a lot of cloud to cloud lightning.
Lyddy said the protestors who gathered outside the rally at the corner of Jefferson Street and Park Avenue caused no issues. “They amassed a pretty good group of people,” he said, “and they were very peaceful.”
All in all, Lyddy said, “given all the things that could have been a problem, I think we got through it pretty well.”