Donald Trump was in Texas again on Tuesday. The Republican presidential nominee held no public events, but stopped at private fundraisers in Dallas and San Antonio.
Trump has been leaning hard on the Lone Star State for cash to keep his campaign going. With big money and few competitive races in Texas, the state is an ATM for candidates of both parties, and Trump has made three visits to the state since the convention. Two of his children have also made fundraising swings.
Tickets for the event, held at the Hilton Lincoln Centre, started at $2,700 per person. Top-level donors were expected to give or raise $893,000 per couple.
Reporters were corralled into a parking lot across the street the Hilton at Lincoln Center well away from the well-heeled GOP donors who’d come to deliver checks to their party’s nominee. Spectators were also, though there were few to speak of.
As the event was scheduled to get underway, Honey Lanham Dodge was the sole sign-wielding supporter of Donald Trump who turned up, though she was eventually joined by a handful of others.
Trump wasn’t her first choice, Dodge said, but now she said he’s the last, best hope to beat Hillary Clinton.
“I really feel that the Democrats have taken us down a deep hole, and I don’t like it,” Dodge said. “I’m for freedom, sovereignty, restoring our nation, and I think Trump is it.”
Dodge wasn’t rattled by the 2005 video released on Friday that shows Trump joking about grabbing women by their genitals and kissing them without consent. She doesn’t condone what he said, but Dodge thought there were bigger issues than a candidate’s personality.
“Frankly, I’m more offended by people in Congress who take our votes, make promises, go into offices, and never do anything,” Dodge said.
Dodge said doesn’t think grassroots supporters like her will turn their backs on the Republican nominee after that video, even if dozens of GOP leaders pulled their support.
Texas’ only Republican congresswoman, Kay Granger of Fort Worth, called for Trump to end his campaign.
Other top Texas Republicans are sticking with the candidate, even as they’ve criticized the video. Sen. Ted Cruz re-affirmed his support this weekend and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick continues to chair Trump’s Texas operations.
Steve Eberhart, a Democrat who stopped by the North Dallas fundraiser to show his disdain for Trump, called the video disgusting and said it speaks volumes about his character.
“He’s just a vile man who has no understanding of how the government works,” said Eberhart. “I think he is unfit to be president.”
The visit was an opportunity to for local Democratic politicians to try to tie Trump to local Republican candidates on the ballot. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said Republican candidates should tell voters whether they’ll rescind their support for Donald Trump.
“Do you endorse this person? Will you denounce your endorsement of this person? What do you have to say about his comments?” Jenkins said. “It’s only fair that the voters know that before they go to vote.”
State Sen. Royce West suggested that it was hypocritical for Republicans to stick with Trump.
“How can you represent of quote unquote family values when you have a spokesperson of your party making despicable remarks about the opposite sex?” West asked.
West said Trump had plenty of others to apologize to beyond women, including immigrants, Latinos and Muslims. He also noted that not all African Americans live in the grinding poverty Trump often describes.