Donald Trump Jr. fundraising visit to Addison excites GOP base


Republican voters in Illinois have caught the attention of two presidential campaigns this week with contender South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott in Chicago Monday and Donald Trump Jr. coming to the suburbs Friday for a reception and book signing.

Tickets priced from $150 to $1,500 to see former President Donald Trump’s son are going fast, said Karen Tirio, chair of the McHenry County GOPAC, a political action committee organizing the fundraiser in Addison.

“A lot of us feel (Trump Jr.) may run for Congress or the presidency after this,” said Tirio. “He seems to be President Trump’s closest, most trusted surrogate and I believe he’s learning about this whole politicking thing from his father.”

The former president is providing a publicity buildup, appearing in court at his business fraud trial in New York Wednesday. Trump Sr. also faces other indictments in federal court including election interference and keeping classified documents, and election interference in Georgia state court, which he has dismissed as a “witch hunt.”

“Every time he gets indicted, I pretty much send a check for his defense fund,” said supporter Kathy Abbate of Darien, who has a ticket to see Trump Jr.

So does Downers Grove’s Larisa Calvanese. “I voted for (Trump Sr.) twice. I would vote for him a third time,” she said. “I’m excited to go to the event and just have a fun experience.”



While moderate Illinois Republicans are giving the event a wide berth, conservative former gubernatorial candidate and state Sen. Darren Bailey will attend, Tirio said.

Trump Jr.’s visit to the region comes after years of loyal backing from the McHenry political action committee, she explained.

“They know we’re pro-Trump,” Tirio said, citing actions such as a rally in the Woodstock town square after the 2016 election and sending a busload of supporters to a debate this year even though Trump wasn’t there.

The event will be held at Venuti’s in Addison, and guests will receive copies of the former president’s book, “Letters to Trump,” featuring 150 private letters from world leaders and celebrities.

Another guest is McHenry County Republican Party Chairman Jeff Thorsen. The county GOP does not endorse in primaries, Thorsen noted, adding “there’s a lot of diversity and a lot of opinion” among local Republicans.



But overall, “I think that people are really concerned about what’s going on in the world today,” he said.

Trump’s appearances in blue state Illinois typically draw demonstrators. However, this time, Democrats could be a no-show.

“The general idea at this point is to just ignore it and not give it much energy — let them do their thing,” Democratic Party of DuPage Chairman Ken Meija-Beal said.

“We learned a lot from the DeSantis thing,” he added, referring to a protest when presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke in Elmhurst this February. “Our protest made it something, and without our presence it wouldn’t have been that big of a thing.”



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