In a police-escorted motorcade of about a dozen or so vehicles, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump arrived in San Antonio Tuesday afternoon to speak at the second private fundraiser for his campaign in the city.
Tickets to the exclusive event, which was held at the Grand Hyatt San Antonio hotel and hosted by the Trump Victory Committee, started at $500; the most expensive tickets were rumored to be as high as $100,000.
As Trump’s black SUV pulled into the hotel garage around 12:15 p.m., the billionaire real estate developer was seen giving a thumbs up through a closed back seat window to the small group of reporters and Trump supporters standing nearby.
Down Commerce Street, toward the opposite end of the hotel, which was closed to the public for the private gathering, a group of about 100 Trump protestors gathered, chanted, and wielded a variety of anti-Trump banners and signs along the sidewalk.
The peaceful protest was organized by Vote San Antonio, a local group that advocates for civic engagement among all San Antonians.
“The spirit of today is to tell Donald Trump that he is not welcome here,” said Maximo Anguiano, who co-founded Vote San Antonio. “We don’t appreciate his narrative, his rhetoric, any of the hate that he’s promoting.”
Over the course of his campaign, Trump has repeatedly attacked Mexicans, Muslims, women, and immigrants.
A number of Tuesday’s protestors, who outnumbered the dozen or so Trump supporters situated a block away on the other side of the hotel and later across the street, talked about their disgust for Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric, noting that it perpetuates hate and disunity.
Many in attendance today also partook in the “Dump Trump” rally held during Trump’s last fundraising stop in San Antonio in June.
“(Trump supporters) only see immigration from this point of ‘You broke the law.’ It’s very one-dimensional and they’re not seeing the whole picture – people are fleeing violence … and opportunities are very scarce,” said Diego Mancha, a DREAMer whose mother is from Mexico. “I think it’s tough for them to think of anything other than ‘You broke the law’ and thats the rhetoric Trump uses, and I think he’s really unconventional in the sense of what he wants to do (about it).”
Some signage also took jabs at U.S. Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas), who is up against Pete Gallego for re-election in the 23rd Congressional District.
Tuesday’s luncheon was hosted by prominent real estate mogul Gene Powell, who also hosted Trump’s June fundraising luncheon at Oak Hills Country Club. A list of attendees and Trump contributors was not provided, but several who spoke with the Rivard Report before entering the hotel came from other cities around the state to show their support for the former reality show host.
Teresa Soberoski, who is from Pennsylvania but has lived in Floresville for more than 30 years, said that outrage over the recently released video from 2005, in which Trump is heard having a lewd conversation about groping women, was “stupid” and that it distracted from more important issues in the campaign.
Other Trump supporters said they believed he would “bring jobs back to America” and rid Washington of the “corrupt politicians in power.”
“I think (Trump) is the best man to do the job that we need done. Most of the people that I know – which I think is the silent majority – they’re looking for somebody to go in and clean house,” said Sean O’Brien, a real estate broker and rancher from Karnes City. “He’s the only one that’s an outsider and can go in and clean house and make things right again.”
Trump’s 15-minute speech at the fundraiser entailed him calling out “members of his own party for not being fully supportive of him,” as reported by the Texas Tribune. He accused U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan of being guilty of “total disloyalty to the party.”
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, the Tribune reported, were two notable attendees at the luncheon.
Meanwhile, at the San Antonio headquarters for the Hillary Clinton campaign, Texas Democratic elected officials held a press conference in which they urged constituents to both ensure they are registered to vote by the end of the day, and to not give Trump their vote.
U.S. Rep. Joaquín Castro (D-Texas) opened by saying that for the U.S. to win, Trump must lose.
“Over the course of this campaign, we’ve witnessed the most divisive candidate we’ve had in many generations in American politics,” Castro said. “Somebody who has torn Americans apart based on race, on religion, on every kind of difference you can imagine.”
He added that the video tape released last Friday in which Trump brags about sexually assaulting women is indicative of his character and the kind of president he would be.
“So we are all here supportive of Secretary Clinton in her bid for the presidency,” Castro said. “We encourage San Antonians –Republican, Democrat, and Independent – to join us in supporting (Clinton) because she is the better choice for this election.”
State Rep. Ina Minjarez (D-124) said that no man who respects women has any business voting for Trump.
“What kind of example do you set for your kids with a man like Donald Trump in the White House?” she asked. “Texas Democrats know that when women succeed, America succeeds. I urge my colleagues at the Texas House and Senate to come together, and everyone in our state to come together and vote for Hillary Clinton.”
She added that voters should reach out to family and friends today to make sure that they are registered to vote.
City Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales (D5) said that Texas families deserve someone who is connected to reality and whom they can trust with the economy.
“Texas Democrats believe honest, hard work should be rewarded with jobs that pay enough to get ahead,” Gonzales said. “Unfortunately, the sad truth is that many jobs don’t pay enough and many families are living paycheck to paycheck. No one who works full-time should live in poverty. As Democrats we are fighting for fair tax codes which reward hard work, invest in small businesses, and ensure that billionaires like Donald Trump pay their fair share.”
She added that voting Republican would be a return to policies that enabled a “failed economy.”
“They support tax cuts for the wealthy that would either balloon our deficit or require massive cuts to critical safety net programs,” Gonzales said. “The Republican platform opposes raising the minimum wage and Donald Trump even said that these wages are too high. Texas families know full well the damage that Trump’s divisive policies and hateful rhetoric would cause to America.”
She said that Texas could add more than 900,000 jobs under Clinton’s economic plan while it would lose almost 300,000 jobs under Trump’s.
Former U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego, who is running for his former seat against Will Hurd in Texas’ 23rd District, also said that Trump’s comments about sexually assaulting women disqualify him from becoming presidency.
“It’s very interesting to me that we have watched, over the last 15 months, as Mr. Trump has made his various comments about various communities,” Gallego said. “All along many elected officials, like Congressman Will Hurd for example, were meek as a mouse. And it is too late for that mouse to roar now.”
He added that Texas kids can’t afford to live in a world where Trump is president.
“The choice that we make will not only reverberate in our lifetime but for generations to come,” Gallego said. “One of those seminal moments of history that our kids will ask us about is ‘Where were you on the issue of Donald Trump?’ Did we say his behavior was okay? Or did we speak out?”
Taking questions after the press conference, Castro urged voters to compare the lives of both candidates.
“Please take a close look at both candidates, at how they live their lives, what they contribute to American society, and the kind of campaigns they run,” he said. “It’s clear that Hillary Clinton is the much better, qualified candidate. She’s somebody who will help unite Americans, who will bridge divides.
“Donald Trump has done nothing but tear people apart.”
Later Tuesday night, a Twitter post and video surfaced of a group of San Antonio police officers, who are required to remain neutral and show no political affiliation when in uniform, escorting Trump in his motorcade wearing Trump campaign hats.
City attorney Andrew Segovia sent a letter to the Donald Trump for President campaign staff, asking them to take down the post since it is “essentially a political ad. City policy prohibits the officers from participating in this activity while acting in their capacity as City employees.”
In response to the post, San Antonio Police Department (SAPD) Chief William McManus released a statement Tuesday night saying that the officers will be “disciplined appropriately.
“SAPD officers are charged with protecting the entire community,” he stated.
“The officers displayed poor judgment. I expect them to know better than to give the appearance of endorsing a candidate while on duty and in uniform, regardless of the political campaign or the candidate.”
*Editor’s note: This story has been updated with information about uniformed San Antonio police officers in Trump’s motorcade wearing his campaign hats and a statement by Chief William McManus.