Bud Kennedy

Finally, Dallas finds room for Trump, but what took so long?

A sign separates press from invited guests at Trump’s news conference June 7 in New York.
A sign separates press from invited guests at Trump’s news conference June 7 in New York. AP

If Texans thought Donald J. Trump were about to be elected president, it wouldn’t have taken so long to find somewhere for his rally.

But despite Republicans’ lack of support for Trump in the March primary and lack of financial support since then, his campaign was able to arrange a Thursday night rally at 3,600-seat Gilley’s south of downtown.

Now, Trump can take a ride on the mechanical bull and experience what no doubt will be a South Dallas welcome, with protests already planned by local Latino leaders.

Fort Worth, Grand Prairie, Irving and maybe other cities had declined hosting the rally, which Trump’s campaign planned only this week.

Trump is mainly coming to Dallas Thursday for the same reason Republican candidates always come to Texas: money. The state is securely in the Republican column in elections, so national candidates always do most of their campaigning in swing states.

It’s interesting that even in Irving, where the mayor is high-profile Republican Beth Van Duyne, police said 48 hours’ notice was not enough to arrange security at the convention center.

Grand Prairie Chief Steve Dye said in a statement Wednesday that they were asked Monday about using the 6,350-seat Verizon Theatre, but that the city did not have enough “officers … seating, outside capacity or parking” for the event.

Trump’s past rallies here drew crowds at the American Airlines Center and a Fort Worth Convention Center ballroom, but Fort Worth officials said their facility is booked Friday with a State Bar of Texas convention.

It’s also interesting that Trump’s campaign was seeking 6,000-seat arenas or ballrooms and not larger settings. The AAC was too big. His rally crowds have dwindled of late as protests have grown.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz held rallies at Stockyards Station, but a spokeswoman said the Trump campaign did not inquire there.

On an economic development trip to Mexico last week, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, a Democrat, told The News Trump’s plan for a border wall “is the sort of thing that slows economies down” and would hurt Dallas.

Dallas police are still preparing for expected protests during his fundraising event somewhere in the downtown Dallas or Highland Park area.

Bud Kennedy: 817-390-7538, bud@star-telegram.com, @BudKennedy. His column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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