A couple hundred Donald Trump fans rallied outside Congress on Thursday for the “March for Trump,” an event meant to oppose House Democrats’ impeachment investigation. According to organizers, though, there would have been hundreds more people shouting “stop the coup” in Washington’s streets if not for a liberal plot against their buses.
That’s because, as would-be rally attendees gathered across the East Coast for the US Coachways buses that the organizer had promised would take them to Washington, those buses never showed.
The no-shows provoked a wave of anger, accusations that the “deep state” had colluded to stop a show of Trump support in Washington, and negative reviews aimed at US Coachways.
But US Coachways has a simpler explanation for what happened—it was never paid for the requested buses due to a series of declined credit card payments.
“We want to get people down there,” Joseph Heap, US Coachways’ chief marketing officer, told The Daily Beast. “But unfortunately, payment is required.”
For those who made it to the rally, the missing buses were a subject of anger, consternation, and conspiracies. Rally speaker and One America News personality Jack Posobiec compared the bus issue to social media companies “deplatforming” conservatives.
“I hear there was a buses issue today,” Posobiec said. “The company refused to work with folks.”
And Women for America First, the organizing group, quickly blasted the bus company in a press release, accusing US Coachways of stopping “hundreds of Americans from exercising their first amendment rights.”
“Last night, less than two hours before our first chartered buses were supposed to leave for DC, we were informed that the bus company was cancelling all of our buses—including ones that were fully paid for,” the statement read. “This move left hundreds of grassroots activists stranded and unable to attend the Anti-Impeachment rally today in front of the Capitol. We are incredibly disappointed at US Coachways, their actions prevented hundreds of Americans from exercising their first amendment rights and to have their voices heard.”
For those who couldn’t make it because of the absent buses, the vitriol was even more direct. Disappointed Trump fans took to social media and business review sites to vent their frustrations at the company.
“Deep state is diabolical,” tweeted one rallygoer. Another asked Fox News host Tucker Carlson to investigate.
In the eyes of many Trump supporters, US Coachways soon became just the latest corporation to snub conservatives.
“How corrupt can the Democrats be?” tweeted one woman whose bus never showed up.
On YouTube, a stranded rally attendee who calls herself “April the American” imagined a liberal conspiracy to block the buses as part of a ploy to seize power across the United States government.
“Guess what, you lefty, soy-drinking latte pieces of shit: You’re not taking this country,” she said. “It ain’t going to happen.”
Heap admitted that he had seen the bad reviews piling up online. And he claimed to have been contacted by conservative media outlets alleging that US Coachways deliberately canceled the bus order to hurt Trump and his supporters. But he suggested that the disappointment of rallygoers be directed at a more mundane culprit: poor planning by one of the event’s organizers.
Heap said one of the rally’s organizers contacted the bus company 10 days before the event, on Oct. 7, and attempted to organize buses in multiple states, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, and North Carolina. As the event neared, though, the organizer still hadn’t put a deposit down on the buses—potentially leaving US Coachways on the hook for thousands of dollars.
Heap said the organizer only officially confirmed the buses at 3 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon, just hours before the first bus had to leave at 11:30 p.m. Complicating matters, according to Heap, were Department of Transportation regulations that required two drivers for some of the buses.
“This was not an easy logistical package,” Heap said.
Still, US Coachways agreed to organize the last-minute bus order. But when the company tried to run the organizer’s credit card to pay for the buses, it was repeatedly declined, with only a charge for one of the buses succeeding.
“We were still there, ready to do this,” Heap said. “But unfortunately, her credit card kept declining.”
Heap said US Coachways spoke repeatedly to the rally organizer in an attempt to make the credit card payments go through. But when the company could not get the credit card not to decline, he said, “We had no choice but to cancel.”
Despite issuing a press release blasting the bus company, Women for America First didn’t respond to requests for comment after The Daily Beast brought up US Coachways’ allegation that it wasn’t paid for the buses. The Daily Beast couldn’t reach the rally organizer who attempted to book the buses for comment.
“We didn’t do this on purpose,” Heap said. “We really wanted to make this work.”