Donald Trump’s appearance at a Minneapolis fundraiser seemed to do little for his image in the state other than elevating a spat between the state Republican party and Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges over the treatment of protestors who were hassling attendees.
But the fundraiser solidified the support of his core followers, including a pair of one-time Trump skeptics.
Janet Beihoffer attended the fundraiser in her capacity as national committeewoman for the Minnesota Republican Party. Prior to the event, she said, she was resigned. “You [Trump] played the game. You got some breaks and you got the delegates,’” she said. “OK, that’s it.”
The fundraiser changed her opinion. “When we were going through the photo line, I did not expect to be impressed with him,” she said. “But he was asking everyone who went through the line what they thought. He waited for the answer and he repeated the answer. One on one, this guy is a completely different personality.”
Doug Seaton, an Edina attorney and a sponsor of the fundraiser, admits that Trump never made the cut on the list of GOP candidates Seaton would support for president. Now he’s volunteered to help the Trump campaign make its argument that a special prosecutor is needed to investigate the release of the Hillary Clinton emails from her time as secretary of state.
“Everybody raises flags, but [Trump] raises far fewer flags than Hillary Clinton,” Seaton said, an attitude adopted by most Minnesota Republicans who say they will vote for Trump.
As for the appointment of a special prosecutor to look into whether donors to the Clinton Foundation received special treatment at the State Department, Seaton says, “I don’t think you can trace this sort of trail when influence is working its way into the system, but can we show that there hasn’t been an out come and policy decisions because of connections to the Clinton Foundation? They should do it but I am very pessimistic they will do it.”
The Clinton campaign, in response to Seaton, referred me to a statement from John Podesta, chair of the campaign, who says Trump has his own conflicts of interest.
“The Foundation has already laid out the unprecedented steps the charity will take if Hillary Clinton becomes president,” Podesta said. “Donald Trump needs to come clean with voters about his complex network of for-profit businesses…. He must commit to fully divesting himself from all of his business conflicts to ensure that he is not letting his own financial interests affect decisions made by his potential administration.”
As true party loyalists, Beihoffer and Seaton actually see a path where Trump could win Minnesota in November. “If you factor what the Green Party and the Libertarian Party could take away from the Democrats, it’s possible,” Beihoffer said.