Donald Trump enjoys a good show.
And that’s what awaited him in downtown Fort Worth Tuesday, as supporters and opponents alike turned out for the arrival of the Republican presidential nominee.
As he thanked high-dollar supporters during a private fundraiser at the City Club of Fort Worth, critics gathered outside for a demonstration — and a Mansfield pastor stood on a nearby street corner stripping to show his support.
“Everyone has to turn out in November,” said Kathleen Thompson, a Grapevine mother who was among two dozen people participating in a Love Trumps Hate demonstration, complete with a life-size Hillary Clinton cutout, outside the downtown D.R. Horton Tower.
As snipers and police guarded area rooftops, Thompson and others urged passers-by to support Clinton, the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee.
“I don’t see how any self-respecting woman can vote for Trump,” she said. “The things he says are disgusting. I have to turn off the TV.”
Not far from her, Rives Grogan, a Mansfield pastor, presented a different point of view.
He stripped down to Texas-flag design swim trunks and shouted support for Trump, as he carried signs encouraging Texans to “Vote Trump,” “Stop Abortion,” “Vote the Bible” and “Vote Traditional Marriage.”
Inside, after arriving about an hour late, Trump thanked backers for showing up to support him.
“He said people think he’s crazy for coming to Texas because he’s going to win here,” said a woman who attended the fundraiser but requested anonymity because she was not cleared by the campaign to discuss the event. “But he said it’s important to come here and tell people he appreciates us.”
Tuesday’s visit was a rare occurrence, since presidential candidates generally don’t make general election appearances in this state.
But Trump picked up around $1 million in Fort Worth Tuesday, boosting his contributions from Texas that already topped the $5 million mark — and is more than he has received from any other state.
Hours before arriving at the City Club of Fort Worth, Trump tweeted out that he was “in Texas doing a big fundraiser for the Republican Party.”
He also mentioned taping a town hall on border security, and his campaign sent out a statement acknowledging the Austin public rally and the fact that he then “returns to the battleground state of Florida.”
Inside the D.R. Horton Tower, escalators leading to the City Club were blocked by Secret Service and police who used wands and metal detectors on supporters who paid top dollar to see Trump.
Many who work in the tower hoped to catch a glimpse of the candidate, but missed out when his vehicle drove into a nearby parking garage. There, he was able to access a private tunnel and elevator to get to the fundraiser.
The event that cost anywhere from $2,700 per person to $250,000 per couple drew about 150 people including Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Republican U.S. Reps. Kay Granger of Fort Worth and Michael Burgess of Pilot Point.
The new head of the Dallas Republican Party, Phillip Huffines, brother of state Sen. Don Huffines, was in the crowd, as were Fort Worth philanthropists Mercedes Bass and Kit Moncrief.
“This was obviously a day, a thank-you day, for those who are helping Donald Trump in Texas and across the country,” said Burgess, who had a chance to talk to Trump when he arrived and as Giuliani stepped away to answer emails.
“He’s a very genuine individual,” Burgess said. “You hear about people being natural with their political skills. I would put him in that category. … He was very genuine.”
There were no public events in Fort Worth on this campaign stop.
Trump isn’t the only person collecting campaign contributions in Texas this week.
Former President Bill Clinton will also be making the Texas fundraising rounds, claiming donations for his wife’s presidential bid. One of his stops will be in Dallas on Thursday afternoon for a private fundraiser.
Stolen yard signs?
One person having a photo taken with Trump mentioned that yard signs with his name were being stolen from area neighborhoods. Trump told that supporter that he doesn’t think people are stealing the signs so much as taking them because they are collector items.
Apparently it’s a problem occurring across the country, Trump told the supporter.
After photos with Trump, Patrick and Giuliani both spoke to the crowd.
When Trump took to the stage, he spoke only for a short time — but long enough to give brief shoutouts to both Granger and Burgess — before opening the floor to questions from the audience.
Supporters asked him about everything from changes in his staff to energy independence to voter fraud.
And he talked about the media and how reporters don’t always portray how large his rallies are.
“He talked about how he asks the cameras at the rallies to turn around to show how many people are there,” a person who attended the fundraiser said. “But he said they won’t do it and they focus on his face.
“The only time they turn their cameras around is when he has a protester,” the person said. “That’s why he likes protesters.”