The Donald Trump fundraiser Friday at the Minneapolis Convention Center will be short on bold-faced names and long on security.
Security for the GOP presidential candidate is of such high concern that it forced the Trump campaign to cancel a public rally and to relocate the fundraiser from the Minneapolis Club to the convention center.
The campaign had consulted Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek about suitable venues for the Trump visit. He said he convinced them that protestors would create security problems at the Minneapolis Club, the usual location for big dollar fundraisers.
“The Minneapolis Club has only two ways in and out and both could be blocked by protestors,” Stanek said. “But the Minneapolis Convention Center has multiple egresses so a security detail could have options and there’s a secure entrance for a motorcade to enter.”
The anticipation that Trump would be greeted by more protestors than supporters also eliminated the option of a public rally. Only two Minneapolis venues — the convention center and Target Center — offer the kind of security the Trump campaign needs for a rally, according to Stanek.
Target Center was booked and sources say the convention center didn’t want to take on the safety problems a Trump rally would create.
Stanek, a Republican, will not be attending the fundraiser, which is being hosted by a dozen regular GOP donors. Also absent are other prominent Republican politicians, including Minnesota Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt, Senate Minority Leader David Hann and U.S. Rep. Eric Paulsen. U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer and some state Republican Party officers will be there.
But the skeletal presence of GOP leaders is an indication of Trump’s popularity problem with down-ticket Republicans. My colleague Sam Brodey wrote about the complications Trump’s controversial statements have created for Paulsen in particular.
By comparison, in 2012, top GOP politicians elbowed their way into events to be seen with presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Back then, Paulsen was eager to support Romney, endorsing him for president in January of that year, well before Romney secured the nomination.
The Trump fundraiser is not expected to be well attended, an indication, perhaps, of reluctance on the part of local Republican donors. But here, too, security is playing a role, Stanek said. “There will be people certainly who will choose not to show up because of concerns about protestors and safety,” he said.
At least one protest is planned for the Trump visit. A group called Cosecha that works for immigrant rights and protection is asking supporters to meet at GOP headquarters on Franklin Avenue Friday to paint a fabric wall around the building to protest Trump’s proposals on immigration.