A video tweeted by New York Magazine reporter shows stagehands and Secret Service agents frantically trying to tame the nearly 20-feet-tall flag in Hickory
After having to suspend his campaign rallies for months due to the pandemic and a weekend confined to Walter Reed after testing positive for the novel Coronavirus, President Donald Trump has been racing to make up for lost time by squeezing in as many "Make America Great Again" rallies as he can manage in the days leading up to November 3. However, his attempt to bridge the gap in polls was marred with what many now claim as a sign from Mother Nature herself on Sunday when a massive American flag at a North Carolina rally collapsed behind the crowd and the press area.
Video from right after the scaffolding fell over. pic.twitter.com/6AynAqMVti— Olivia Nuzzi (@Olivianuzzi) November 1, 2020
Thirty hours from the election that will decide the fate of America, Trump was at the third of five scheduled stops across the Midwest and Southeast, when the incident occurred. According to an Intelligencer report, the 74-year-old covered Michigan in the morning, Iowa in the afternoon, and was speaking to the North Carolina crowd at sunset when a loud bang was heard across the area. Just a few minutes into Trump's address in Hickory, North Carolina, a lift holding up an American flag at the back of the venue blew over, causing half the flag to wildly flail about in the wind.
The American flag has now been removed from the scene and caution tape has been threaded around the press area— Olivia Nuzzi (@Olivianuzzi) November 1, 2020
A video tweeted by New York Magazine reporter Olivia Nuzzi shows stagehands and Secret Service agents frantically trying to tame the nearly 20-feet-tall flag. It had been tied at each corner to the coils of two large green-and-orange lifts, one of which had collapsed onto the building behind it. They eventually managed to wrestle the flag to the remaining shaky green lift, fold it into order, and placed caution tape around the area. Nuzzi revealed that security officials cleared the press out of their seats following the near-disaster out of fear that any of the other structures — like the lift hoisting up the lights illuminating the stage — might fall and hurt someone.
At the president’s windy rally in North Carolina, one of two scissor lifts holding an American flag tipped over and hit the airport building. Officials put caution tape around it, removed the second and lowered a third that’s holding lights, though it’s still a little shaky. pic.twitter.com/gWsn6tEWgI— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) November 2, 2020
She stated that such chaos and disorganization have become characteristic of Trump rallies with a security guard in Pennsylvania confiding in her that there'd been a series of communication failures between the campaign and law enforcement during an event there. A police officer in Nevada also reported similar dysfunction while just last week, Trump supporters were left stranded in the cold. They were subsequently hospitalized following a late-night rally at an airport in Omaha, Nebraska. It doesn't stop there - a Florida rally ended with a dozen people treated for heatstroke.
How it started vs how it’s going pic.twitter.com/iJKqohLC4V— Olivia Nuzzi (@Olivianuzzi) November 1, 2020
Meanwhile, Twitter users couldn't help but observe that an American flag falling due to the dangerous collapse of machinery almost seemed like a perfect metaphor for President Trump's time in office. Many also cited the incident to make a point about Trump's fitness for office. "Attaching a giant piece of fabric to a scissor lift on a windy day is one of the most ridiculously stupid things imaginable. These people are so stupid they have regressed to a time before sailing ships," tweeted Jonathan Goodwin.
A giant metaphor for a collapsing democracy. As Trump speaks in Hickory, NC the structure holding up the American flag collapsed behind the crowd and the press area. https://t.co/k6Fg6hCPIy— Nita Cosby (@5_2blue) November 2, 2020
"Using a pair of scissor lifts to drape a giant flag in the wind makes about as much sense as voting for Donald Trump as president. The Republicans are lacking in brainpower," wrote Twitter user @AngryPatriot20 while another user named Jett Anderson pointed out that "reputable, competent production companies know about wind loading, and don't let this happen. Someone could have been killed." @yourauntifa added: "Scissor lifts have strict wind limits and should never have been used in those conditions. Extremely dangerous - they’re lucky only a building was hit when it blew over."
Meanwhile, some Twitter users pointed a strange contrast between the Trump rally and a Joe Biden rally a few days ago when a pair of bald eagles flew over the event space while the Democratic presidential candidate gave a speech.
Get this:— Covie (@roper_93) November 2, 2020
Bald eagles circled overhead at Joe Biden's rally.
Scaffolding lift holding an American flag at trump's rally collapsed.
American Bald Eagles flying over Joe Biden, and a scissor lift hold the American flag blowing over at Trump’s rally - Mother Nature is really trying to tell us something!— Tracy Ann (@TracyAnn414) November 2, 2020