© 2020 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Trump Visits San Antonio Donors Amid Campaign Controversy

Trump visited San Antonio Tuesday amid backlash over a leaked video where the billionaire talked about groping women. Ahead of Trump’s Grand Hyatt luncheon, local Democrats held a news conference to condemn the Republican nominee. Representative Joaquin Castro said Trump is out of step with San Antonio’s values—and dangerous for democracy.

“The tape that we heard last week was indicative not only of his character, but also of the kind of president he would be if elected to the oval office,” Castro said.

Several prominent Republicans are also condemning Trump. Congressman Will Hurd of San Antonio is up for reelection--and is now calling for Trump to step down as the party nominee. Even the host of Trump’s San Antonio luncheon, real estate developer Gene Powell, said he was “deeply disappointed” and “offended” —but the event went on as planned.

Trump’s motorcade arrived a little after noon, cruising past protesters—and supporters like Brad O’Donnell.

“He gave me a thumbs-up,” said 31-year-old O’Donnell.

But he will want more than that from President Trump.

“He’s going to have to follow through with what he said,” said O’Donnell. “We’re going to build the wall, we’re gong to redo taxes, we’re going get the coal miners and industrial jobs back. We’re going make America great again.”

Several hundred attendees donated anywhere from $500 to $100,000 to get inside the fundraiser. Just a few hours after tweeting insults at Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan and Arizona Senator John McCain, Trump told San Antonio donors he’d keep fighting for the presidency.

“Trump was in great spirits,” said Bexar County Republican Party Chair Robert Stovall. “The room was filled with exuberant people. Everybody was excited to see him. He delivered a great message about what he’s going to do to change this country. He’s not one who’s going to go down. He’s a fighter and he wanted to make sure we all knew that.”

Other attendees said Trump delivered many of his usual talking points—and praised the San Antonio Spurs, saying the country would be better off it ran more like the basketball team.

89-year-old Helen Groves came to the event from Kenedy County.

“He was not my very first choice, but I have made the effort to see what he does more than what he says,” said Groves.

What Trump says—and does—were cause for concern for the several dozen protestors on the sidewalk, like Lupe Santellan.

“Donald Trump is a bad choice,” said Santellan. “He’s a racist. He preys on women. He doesn’t even know the issues, and his language is unreal. We don’t want our kids to have a president like him.”

When Trump’s motorcade arrived at the San Antonio airport late Tuesday afternoon, about a dozen police officers were photographed violating SAPD policy by wearing Trump’s “Make America Great Again” hats. Chief William McManus says the officers will be disciplined.

“The officers displayed poor judgment,” McManus said in a statement. “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.”