Gilbert crashes Chicago Cubs’ White House party

Ian Thibodeau
The Detroit News

Detroit business mogul and Cleveland Cavaliers majority owner Dan Gilbert was invited by President Donald Trump on Wednesday to crash a White House event recognizing the Chicago Cubs’ World Series victory.

The Cubs are in Washington, D.C., playing a series against the Nationals and visited the White House Wednesday afternoon before an evening game. As Trump congratulated the Cubs on their achievement last year, he unexpectedly called Gilbert out from a backroom near the Roosevelt Room, according to a pool report.

The National Basketball Association team owner even posed for a photo with the Cubs and Trump.

A representative for Rock Ventures, the company encompassing Gilbert’s business portfolio, said in a statement the Detroit-based businessman was at the White House to educate Trump on changes and opportunities in Detroit.

“Today we met with President Trump to update him and his team on the positive transformations that are taking place in Detroit and Cleveland,” Gilbert said in a statement. “We also informed the President of some of the existing challenges that remain, as well as opportunities to solve them through public-private cooperation (and) partnerships.

“We look forward to continuing the valuable dialogue to develop the best strategies to accelerate the progress in our midwest urban cores.”

Reporters and members of the Cubs were gathered in the Roosevelt Room just before 2 p.m., when Trump “called over Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers over and they all stood for pictures,” according to the pool report.

The pool reporter told The News Gilbert was in “a back room, but (Trump) called him out.”

In late October at a west Michigan campaign stop, Trump praised Gilbert for doing “a great job” in Detroit. The comment came after the businessman and his wife, Jennifer, each contributed $75,000 each to the Hillary Victory Fund, a joint fund-raising venture between the Clinton presidential campaign, the Democratic National Committee and the state Democratic parties.

Gilbert did not donate to Trump during the Republican primaries, according to Federal Elections Commission records.

In September, Trump attended a fundraiser at the Chrysler House in downtown Detroit, a building Gilbert owns.

Representatives for Gilbert’s company said last year that he did not host the September fundraiser and that the space was rented for that event.

The Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland hosted the Republican National Convention where Trump was nominated.

The Quicken Loans National PGA tour stop is in Washington, D.C., this week.

Twitter: @Ian_Thibodeau