Trump’s Bolingbrook Fundraiser Met With Boos, Cheers
Donald Trump visited a Chicago suburb Wednesday to raise money for his presidential campaign.
The Republican nominee’s motorcade entered the Bolingbrook Golf Club through a back entrance and avoided the designated “Peaceful Demonstration Zone.”
About 150 demonstrators booed guests who entered the event, including Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar.
Demonstrator Ryan Miller, with a group that called itself Sousaphones Against Hate, played Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.”
Michael Jackson's "Beat It" played outside Trump Bolingbrook fundraiser pic.twitter.com/2Deko0Gwtp— Tony Arnold (@tonyjarnold) September 28, 2016
“I think it’s really disappointing that the mayor would do this, and bring this fella to this town,” Miller said.
About 50 Trump supporters also stood outside the fundraiser.
Several supporters and demonstrators confronted each other over immigration policy, but both sides remained peaceful.
“We’re just taking advantage of our time to see him since we couldn’t see him at the rally when he was in Chicago,” said supporter Judy Gardner, referring to a March rally at the University of Illinois-Chicago that was canceled when fights between Trump supporters and demonstrators had broken out before Trump ever took the stage.
“I don’t know why he bothers with Illinois to be honest. I really don’t. They’re all losers here,” said Gardner, referring to Illinois’ history of voting in favor of the Democratic presidential nominee.
That’s a perception Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider is fighting. He was inside the fundraiser and said Trump asked if he had a chance of winning Illinois.
“I said, ‘Well, Illinois is a very difficult state to win in presidential election.’ I can’t remember the last time we won for a Republican in a presidential race,” Schneider said.
But Schneider also said Illinois could be in play for Trump because of his broad support in Southern Illinois and because Republicans who resisted his candidacy during the primary are now coming around.
Schneider said Todd Ricketts attended the Bolingbrook fundraiser. The Ricketts family, who own the Chicago Cubs, supported ads during the primary opposing Trump, but have since committed to spending $1 million for Trump.
“I think they’re warming up to the message of Donald Trump. He’s become more presidential as this has gone on,” Schneider said of Illinois Republicans who haven’t supported Trump so far. “They’re also saying our alternative is a scandal-ridden Democratic nominee and I’ve got a choice to make.”
Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics. Follow him @tonyjarnold.