Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is dropping in on Texas on Tuesday to raise money for his campaign at a critical time, as he seeks to recover from a devastating controversy with just under a month until Election Day.
Trump is set to attend afternoon fundraisers in San Antonio then Dallas as part of his fourth trip to Texas during the general election — and potentially last before Nov. 8. Trump was expected to spend less time in the safely Republican state than he has during past visits, with a rally planned Tuesday evening in battleground Florida.
Trump's trip is coming four days after the surfacing of a 2005 clip showing him speaking lewdly about women, bragging about being able to force himself on them due to his fame. The revelation delivered a body blow to his campaign, causing dozens of Republican members of Congress to disown and many others to denounce the comments. He has since apologized for the comments, including at his second debate Sunday with Clinton.
The fallout from the clip appeared to initially have an impact on Trump's Texas fundraisers, with reports suggesting over the weekend that Gene Powell, one of Trump's Texas Victory finance chairmen, was pulling out of the San Antonio event. On Monday, however, Powell issued a statement saying that he while he was "disgusted and offended" by Trump's remarks, he had one last obligation to the campaign — the fundraiser — and planned to follow through on it.
Some Republicans involved in the fundraisers acknowledged the controversy may have initially depressed some enthusiasm among donors heading into Tuesday. But they were re-energized by Trump's aggressive performance in the debate, said the Republicans, hopeful Trump had reached a turning point.
Among Texas Republicans, Trump has experienced no prominent defections as he has bled GOP support elsewhere. On Monday, Toni Anne Dashiell, the vice chairwoman of Trump's statewide leadership team, released a statement that seemed to capture the sentiment of many Trump supporters in Texas, calling Trump's remarks "abhorrent and indefensible" but citing the debate as a stark reminder of the danger Clinton poses to the country.
"Voting for her is simply not an option for any thoughtful, conservative woman in Texas," said Dashiell, a member of the Republican National Committee from Texas. "Too much is at stake in this election, especially the balance of the Supreme Court. I personally accept Donald Trump's apology and am confident that he will be a strong President for all Americans."
The Tuesday fundraisers could be the last chance for Trump's Texas supporters to see him — and open their checkbooks for him — before he heads into more competitive territory in the final month of the race. He has previously raised several million dollars in fundraising swings through the famously donor-rich state.
Tickets start at $500 per person for the San Antonio fundraiser and $2,700 per person for the Dallas event. At the highest level for the San Antonio fundraiser, a couple that pays $100,000 gets four tickets. In Dallas, the maximum amount couples are being asked to give or raise is $893,000.
Hosting both fundraisers are Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee; Steve Mnuchin, finance chairman of the Trump campaign; Lewis Eisenberg, chairman of the Trump Victory joint fundraising committee between the RNC and Trump campaign; and Ray Washburne, finance vice chairman of Trump Victory. In San Antonio, Trump is also being feted by Powell and Dennis Nixon, Texas finance chairman of Trump Victory. The additional hosts in Dallas include three national vice chairmen of Trump's campaign: Roy Bailey, Gentry Beach and Tommy Hicks.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who chairs Trump's overall efforts in Texas, is expected to attend both fundraisers.
A cast of Democrats are set to welcome Trump to both San Antonio and Dallas with news conferences proclaiming him unfit for the presidency. According to the state party, the group will include U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro and congressional candidate Pete Gallego in San Antonio, as well as Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins and state Sen. Royce West in Dallas.
Unlike past visits to Texas, Trump is not holding any public events in addition to his fundraisers. Trump was expected to have a relatively short window of time in Texas, having come from a Monday evening rally in Pennsylvania and due for another one at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Panama City, Florida.
The Texas Tribune provided this story.