Detroit — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump attended a fundraiser at the Chrysler House in downtown Detroit Friday night after his rally in Novi.
The Detroit News first reported Thursday that the New York businessman would hold two fundraisers during his Friday trip to Michigan. One will be held in Metro Detroit, said Lena Epstein, a co-chair of Trump’s Michigan campaign.
“People want to spend the money. They see the connection between their dollars and the outcome (of the election),” Epstein told The Detroit News on Wednesday. “There’s definitely a momentum gaining, otherwise he wouldn’t continue coming back.”
Secret Service agents were positioned outside Friday as Republican officials such as Michigan Republican Party Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel and Attorney General Bill Schuette as well as GOP donors like Peter Karmanos and wife Danialle Karmanos entered the building.
Trump was escorted through a suite in the Federal Reserve Building next to Chrysler House Friday evening.
Earlier in the night, Detroit police were blocking off sections of the financial district along Shelby and Fort streets and Lafayette Boulevard. At least one bomb-sniffing dog was patrolling the lobby of the Chrysler House.
Karmanos, now chairman of Mad Dog Technology in Birmingham, was the biggest Michigan donor to Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s New Day for America super political action committee at $500,000 during the GOP primaries.
The Chrysler House is owned by Quicken Loans Chairman Dan Gilbert and partners. Gilbert himself is a Republican donor, having given $1.25 million to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s America Leads super political action committee and $100,000 to the pro-Kasich New Day group.
Trump is visiting Michigan for the first time to raise money from donors who say they are more optimistic the New York businessman can win Michigan — as state Republican presidential candidates have lost for six consecutive elections. It also marks his fifth visit to the state since he accepted the party’s presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
Before the Novi rally, Trump visited Grand Rapids, where he toured the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum and then proceeded to the nearby J.W. Marriott hotel, where a group of influential donors gathered for a pricey fundraiser luncheon.
Among the attendees were a few members of the DeVos family, a family spokesman confirmed. The powerful west Michigan family backed U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida going into the March Michigan primary, and former Michigan GOP Chairwoman Betsy DeVos told The News in July she was concentrating more on down-ballot races than the presidential contest.
Other attendees included former Secretary of State and one-time U.S. Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land, along with local philanthropists Miner S. and Mary Ann Keeler of the Keeler Brass Co. family.