Residents of Lynden, Washington, were surprised that presidential candidate Donald Trump was coming to their small town near the Canadian border.
Now Trump’s campaign has offered an explanation -- and it has nothing to do with border security or any other issue Trump plans to talk about.
A planned appearance in King County fell through, says state Sen. Doug Ericksen, deputy director of Trump’s campaign in Washington.
“We’d originally tried to find sites in King County, but unfortunately we weren’t able to get the permits from King County government to conduct the event at Boeing Field," said Ericksen. "So we had to search for alternate venues. We thought we had a deal locked up, but unfortunately King County on Wednesday afternoon declined the permits.”
So Trump's rally was scheduled to take place at 3 p.m. at Whatcom County's fairgrounds, in the district that Ericksen represents.
He says he “has his beliefs” as to why King County declined permission but says “you’d have to ask them.”
So we did.
The King County Transportation Department oversees the airport at Boeing Field. Spokesman Frank Abe declined to be interviewed on tape but said county officials reject any implication that they were playing politics.
Abe says a tenant at Boeing Field asked about holding Trump’s event in his airplane hangar and King County officials said he’d have to file a plan to address parking and safety for thousands of people.
Abe says airport authorities never heard back and no paperwork was submitted. He says the airport has hosted large events on the west side near the Museum of Flight, but never on the east side where this tenant has space.
Meanwhile, Ericksen says plans were going smoothly to host Trump in Lynden, 100 miles north of Seattle, despite rumors of plans for protests.
“I think people have a right to come hear Mr. Trump speak, and anyone who would deny him that opportunity would embarrass Washington state and embarrass the region," Ericksen said.
"So I think Washington state is a lot better than places where bad things have happened. I’m very optimistic that we’re going to be true Washingtonians and have a great event tomorrow.”
Ericksen says he hopes that if protesters make their way to Lynden, they spend their money at the local McDonald's.