MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Donald Trump was in Minneapolis Friday night, marking his first trip to Minnesota since announcing his candidacy.
The Republican nominee was at the Minneapolis Convention Center where protesters have been all night. Earlier, they stopped traffic on 1st Avenue South and East 15th Street. Later, people could be seen trying to stop cars coming out of the convention center when the event was over.
Trump’s visit to Minnesota is not a public rally, but rather a private fundraiser. It’s being co-hosted by a couple of state’s media moguls — Stanley Hubbard and Jerry Pappenfus.
The suggested price to attend the dinner-hour Trump “meet and greet” is anywhere from $1,000 to $100,000. For that, you get the photo-op, reception and VIP status.
Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, resigned Friday as investigators in Ukraine are trying to determine if he accepted illegal cash payments and whether he secretly routed millions of dollars to United States lobbyists.
Trump also released his first TV ad of the election Friday. The spot, called “Two Americas: Immigration,” highlights the contrast between Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
The ad will not be aired in Minnesota TV. Trump’s campaign is spending nearly $5 million to air it in the battleground states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida.
If Trump is to have any shot of beating Clinton, he has to get his message back on track. That started early Friday in Louisiana, where he stopped to show concern for flood-ravaged communities.
“We lost everything but knew you would come, this makes it worthwhile,” said a Louisiana resident to Trump, as he autographed a “Trump” baseball cap.
But reviving a struggling campaign will not be easy. With more turmoil at the top, his new campaign leaders promise a return of “Trump as Trump.”
Gov. Mark Dayton and local Muslim Americans voiced skepticism at news conferences in advance of Trump’s visit, where a young boy said the anti-immigrant rhetoric hurts a new generation of Americans.
“His campaign is not only racist but it incites fear to the people who do not really know what Islam stands for,” said Yusef Dayur.
Trump’s state director returned fire, calling a Clinton presidency a “third Obama term … one the state’s small businesses simply can’t afford.”
Do not expect Friday night’s visit to be the typical raucous rally for which he’s known. Trump is coming to Minnesota to raise a pile of campaign cash.
But more interesting is who will not be there Friday night, including many state Republican heavyweights like former Senator Norm Coleman, House Speaker Kurt Daudt and Rep. Erik Paulsen, who is facing a tough re-election campaign of his own.