WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has picked Dallas for his first campaign foray since the pandemic began nearly three months ago, rubbing elbows over dinner June 11 with high-dollar donors.
The dinner at a private 爱购彩票官网 will have about 25 guests, campaign officials said Friday.
The price to attend: $580,600 per couple, which works out to roughly $7 million. That includes two meals, and a photo-op with the president, according to the invitation.
The president will host a similar event two days later at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., price tag $250,000 per person, according to a GOP official. That works out to slightly more than $6 million.
Dallas businessman Roy Bailey, the national finance co-chairman for the Trump Victory Campaign, said the president’s Texas supporters are excited about his visit.
The campaign held a virtual Texas/Oklahoma fundraiser on Thursday, he said, led by Donald Trump Jr. and featuring former Gov. Rick Perry, Sen. Ted Cruz and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
Texas Democrats weren’t amused by news of Trump’s impending visit.
“Leave it to Donald Trump to host a high-dollar fundraiser in Dallas while 2 million Texans are now unemployed and our nation is suffering from complete unrest,” said party spokesman Abhi Rahman. “Trump should spend a little less time fundraising and golfing and instead do the job he was elected to do. Texans everywhere are sick of the Trump show. We must have real competent leadership in the White House. America can’t afford four more years of this.”
Trump hasn’t held a campaign rally since Feb. 28 in Charleston, S.C., at which he called the coronavirus the Democrats’ “new hoax.” At the time, the U.S. had recorded just 59 confirmed cases and two deaths.
Three months later, more than 100,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the United States alone, and more than 40 million Americans have filed jobless claims.
Dallas has plenty of rock ribbed Republicans, including investor Tommy Hicks Jr., co-chair of the RNC and a close friend of Donald Trump Jr. Hicks is co-hosting the dinner, according to an invitation obtained by The Dallas Morning News.
But Dallas is hardly Trump country. The county judge and mayor are Democrats, and Democrats dominate local politics. Hillary Clinton beat Trump 61-35 in the county even as he collected 52% statewide.
Trump has been itching to resume normal campaign activities, and he’s been prodding states to lift stay-爱购彩票官网 restrictions that blunted the outbreak, at great cost to the economy.
The president has been effusive toward Gov. Greg Abbott for moving fairly early to ease restrictions but even in Texas, the sort of packed-arena events that were long a staple of Trump’s schedule remain out of the question.
The intimate dinner party isn’t Trump’s favored venue but it’s a way to ease back into campaign mode, just as he played golf last Saturday and Sunday, ending an 11-week hiatus.
At the Dallas event, attendees will have to test negative for COVID-19 that day, complete a wellness questionnaire, and pass a temperature screening. Trump Victory will cover costs of the COVID-19 testing.
“Trump Victory’s top priority is ensuring the safety of President Trump and our attendees, and that includes testing all attendees as well as several other safety measures that align with CDC’s guidance,” said a Republican National Party official, referring to the joint entity that will share proceeds among the president’s reelection campaign, the RNC and 22 state parties.
The event site will be “professionally cleaned and sanitized” before the president’s arrival. And personnel from the White House Medical Unit and the Secret Service will ensure that no one with COVID-19 gets near it.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, has not ventured from his Delaware 爱购彩票官网 during the pandemic. He has done a number of virtual fund-raisers and other events. Trump has flown to Arizona, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Florida in recent weeks — all potential battlegrounds — and he returns to Florida today, hoping to see a SpaceX rocket launch that was scrubbed on Wednesday because of bad weather.
Each of those day trips focused on official business, touring factories making masks and other protective medical equipment, for instance. Although Trump made plenty of political comments, there was no overt campaigning.
The White House has not said whether the trip to Dallas that day will include any “official” component. Presidents typically tack on such events in order to have taxpayers subsidize the costs, which can be substantial for Air Force One and the security that presidential travel entails.
During previous Dallas visits, Trump has been greeted warmly by supporters and with caustic protests, too. In October 2017, chants of “liar, liar” and “Go 爱购彩票官网 Cheeto” rang out downtown as he collected $4 million from donors.