Trump appears at Tudor Dixon's gubernatorial Mar-a-Lago fundraiser, video shows

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Former President Donald Trump made an appearance Wednesday at a fundraiser, held at his Mar-a-Lago Club, for Republican Tudor Dixon's campaign to be Michigan's next governor.

Trump, who has not released an endorsement in the race to challenge Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer this fall, spoke to the crowd at the event with Dixon, a businesswoman and conservative commentator, standing nearby, according to the clip posted by John Cardillo.

The video had about 20,000 views by 9 a.m. Thursday.

"We really have somebody very special in Tudor," Trump said, according to the video. "She's in there working very, very hard."

Twelve Michigan Republicans have formed fundraising committees to seek the GOP nomination for governor in the August primary. Having Trump's backing could be a major benefit in the primary as the former president remains popular among Republican voters.

"I was proud to stand alongside President Trump last night, as I have been doing on the ground in Michigan since he came down the golden escalator," Dixon said in a statement Thursday. "As the leader of the Republican Party and most powerful voice in American politics, I was honored by his strong and encouraging words of support last night. We will make him proud."

In a January Detroit News-WDIV poll, 79% of participants who identified themselves as "strong Republicans" said they had favorable views of Trump. Overall, 31% of likely Michigan voters said they had favorable views of Trump, according to the poll that was conducted Jan. 3-7. The survey involved 600 likely Michigan general election voters and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Dixon's campaign reported spending $7,342 to rent facilities at Mar-a-Lago for the event that was hosted by a group of her supporters, according to a fundraising disclosure, released Monday.

The Republican candidate has previously said she would welcome Trump's endorsement.

"I think that we would be kidding ourselves if we didn’t say that his endorsement will absolutely frame every race in America," Dixon said during an August interview. "He’s the leader of the party right now.”

Dixon of Norton Shores previously worked in the steel industry and hosted a news program called "America's Voice Live."

Tudor Dixon

She moved to Michigan from Illinois in 2002 when her father, Vaughn Makary, bought a foundry in the region and launched Michigan Steel. She worked in customer service and sales.

In his remarks Wednesday, Trump mentioned her steel industry ties, saying Dixon's father told him no one had ever done a better job working in sales for his business than his daughter.

"And he meant it, too. I am going to check the books. But I think he meant it," Trump said, drawing laughter from the crowd.

Trump has already released endorsements in Michigan's races for attorney general and secretary of state and in 12 down-ballot legislative races. He is participating in a fundraiser for Matthew DePerno, the attorney general candidate he endorsed, at Mar-a-Lago on March 8.

Multiple Republican gubernatorial candidates have openly discussed their hopes of getting Trump's backing. And former Detroit police Chief James Craig, one of the most well-known GOP contenders, traveled to meet with Trump in the fall of 2021.