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Donald Trump decided to go into Bernie Sanders territory when the GOP frontrunner held a large rally in Burlington, Vermont Thursday night.
As would be expected, there were plenty of protesters and highly entertaining responses from The Donald. At one point, the real estate mogul and reality TV star jested that security should keep the coats of any protesters getting kicked out into the frigid Vermont night.
“Get ’em out. Take ’em out. Get ’em out of here,” an amused Trump said when Sanders supporters interrupted his speech. “Don’t give him his coat. Don’t give him his coat. Keep his coat. Confiscate his coat. You know it’s about 10 degrees outside. You can keep his coat. Tell him we will send it to him in a couple of weeks.”
Temperatures dove below 15 degrees Fahrenheit in the deep-blue state.
The Trump campaign said they handed out over 20,000 tickets to the rally being held in a theater that only seated 1,400 people. The announcement drew the ire of Burlington police.
“I wonder if the Trump campaign took into account the safety of the police officers who have to contend with large, dissatisfied crowds,” Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo said. “This situation would place police officers in needless confrontations with citizenry.”
The city ultimately decided not to cancel the event, despite serious reservations from law enforcement.
“If Phish was holding a free concert at the Flynn and gave away 20,000 free tickets, we would cancel the event out of public safety concerns,” del Pozo said. “We are committed to accommodating the campaign because political speech is the very essence of the First Amendment.”
In an attempt to limit protesters from entering the event, the Trump campaign administered a loyalty test for all those in line. Attendees were asked if they were Trump supporters. If confirmed, the supporters were allowed inside. If an attendee was undecided or definitively not a Trump supporter, they were escorted by police away from the premises.
“We have more than 20,000 people that showed up for 1,400 spots. I’m taking care of my people, not people who don’t want to vote for me or are undecided,” Trump said in a statement. “They are loyal to me and I am loyal to them.”
The campaign boasted of over 25,000 attendees as Trump’s rally, but that figure was quickly shot down by del Pozo. The chief of police said the number of supporters was closer to 2,000 with approximately 700 protesters outside of the building. Each time protesters were kicked out of Trump’s event, they were greeted like rock stars by Sanders supporters.