Trump visit met with protests, politics

Trump supporters, including Mary Susan of Chanhassen (wearing cape, arrive at the Minneapolis Convention Center amidst several hundred anti-Trump protesters Friday. | Angela Jimenez for MPR News

Donald Trump’s first campaign visit to Minnesota drew dozens of protesters and several supporters willing to pay up to $10,000 for the chance to hear the Republican presidential candidate speak at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Although the event Friday night was closed to the media and those who didn’t contribute to his campaign, a social media feed captured Trump saying he has “so many friends” in Minnesota and promising to return “a lot.”

About three hours before the candidate’s arrival, about 100 anti-Trump protesters gathered near Minneapolis Convention Center entrances.  After Trump began speaking inside, some tried to get through the gated doors, which were guarded by Minneapolis police officers.

Anti-Trump protester Patrick Snyder of Minneapolis holds a sign outside the convention center during Donald Trump’s appearance at a fundraiser Friday. | Angela Jimenez for MPR News

Trump’s campaign did not disclose how many people attended the fundraiser or how much money it brought in.

Before the event, former Minnesota Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann said she has been advising Trump on foreign policy and issues of concern to Christian conservatives. She said Trump is right to call for more restrictive immigration policies.

“He also recognizes there is a threat around the world, not just here in Minnesota, of radical Islam,” she said. “I wish our President Obama also understood the threat of radical Islam and took it seriously.”

Michele Bachmann speaks to the press as she arrives at the Minneapolis Convention Center for a Trump fundraiser Friday. | Angela Jimenez for MPR News

Bachmann serves on an advisory board on faith and culture for Trump. There was significance to his visit beyond fundraising, she said.

“I think the fact he is here is Minnesota says that he’s intending to play in Minnesota. He’s intending to play in all 50 states, and I think that’s good that he’s doing that,” said Bachmann.

Some state Republicans opted not to attend the fundraiser, including House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Zimmerman, Senate Minority Leader David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, and Congressman Erik Paulsen.

Trump did not hold a public rally during his brief visit.

As Trump’s motorcade left the convention center, protesters swarmed his car, shouting “Hey, hey, ho, ho. Donald Trump has got to go.” Several police officers, some holding their bikes in front of them, ordered the protesters back to let the SUV leave.

Before Trump’s arrival Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison and DFL Gov. Mark Dayton held a news conference at an immigrant-owned business in Minneapolis to criticize Trump for his tax proposals which they said would benefit the wealthy at the expense of small business owners and for not releasing his own income tax returns.