GOP nominee unlikely to hold public event

Aspen Daily News Staff Writer

Donald Trump’s presidential push will make a stop in Aspen later this month, when the unconventional candidate headlines a Republican Party fundraiser at a private residence.

An event notice sent out Thursday from the Pitkin County Republican Party says tickets to the Aug. 25 event start at $2,700 per person. Those wanting a photo with the celebrity businessman can pay $10,000 per couple to be event “co-hosts,” while a couple shelling out $25,000 will be treated to a “VIP meeting” with Trump along with a photo. The funds will be split between Trump’s campaign, the Republican National Committee and various state-level Republican Party committees.

The invitation adds that the specific location of the event will be divulged only to those who RSVP. Pitkin County Republican Party Chairman Bob Jenkins declined to identify the site, saying only that it’s a “fancy brand new home” capable of holding “multiple hundred people.” The reception kicks off at 4:30 p.m.

Trump is not likely to hold a public event in Aspen, as there is not a space big enough to handle the crowds he tends to draw and the attendant security needs, Jenkins said.

“We don’t have a stadium in Aspen,” he said.

Trump’s visit comes on the heels of an Aug. 2 private fundraiser for the Democratic Party held at Aspen Valley Ranch featuring Hillary Clinton. The Democratic nominee also did not hold a public event during her visit to the valley.

In an interview concerning the event and Trump’s candidacy, Jenkins took in stride concerns about the Republican nominee’s penchant for making statements that turn into media firestorms.

The former host of “The Apprentice” “reacts a little more in reality-TV style” when he’s going off the cuff or put on the spot, Jenkins said, crediting Trump for “sticking his neck out there” and “trying to answer questions directly.”

“Everyone today reacts in 141 characters or less,” Jenkins said. “Trump is a product of that. ... So I think a lot more people are willing to accept the fact that he mis-tweeted or misspoke in the moment.”

Jenkins added that he wished Trump’s wife Melania or daughter Ivanka would be “standing up there behind him and kick him in the leg when he misspeaks.”

Trump’s comment this week about “Second Amendment people” stopping Clinton from appointing Supreme Court justices who would be hostile to gun rights should she win the election “was totally misconstrued,” Jenkins said. Trump meant that the NRA is very effective at blocking judicial nominations, Jenkins asserted.

In his widely-panned comments suggesting that the judge presiding over the lawsuit involving Trump’s real estate seminar business should recuse himself because of his Mexican heritage, the nominee should have focused on alleged political conflicts of interest involving the jurist, not his ethnicity, Jenkins said. But, he added, “I have the capability of being Monday morning quarterback. The game was played on the weekend.”

Asked if he was concerned whether or not Trump has the temperament to be president, Jenkins said that when it comes to the big decisions, Trump will take his time.

“Almost everyone in business has a simple cliche that says, if you’re making a business decision based on emotion you are making a mistake,” he said.

Pitkin County Democratic Party Chairman Howie Wallach, when asked for comment on the upcoming Trump visit, said he wants “to stay out of this.”

“I’m not throwing any kindling on the fire, I’m sorry,” Wallach said. “I don’t want to say anything, I think [Trump] is doing fine by himself.”

He later added, “this is just the most bizarre election.”

When asked if he expects protestors to greet Trump’s Aspen visit, Wallach said he will stay on the sidelines.

“From our people I seriously doubt it,” he said. “No one I know is likely to do anything.”

Not Trump’s first time in Aspen

Back in the 1980s, Trump was known as an Aspen regular. His holiday visit in 1989 made the cover of People magazine when his then-wife Ivana clashed with Trump girlfriend Marla Maples, who later became his second wife, at Bonnie’s restaurant on the slopes of Ajax. Trump also came close to controlling the land downtown that eventually became the St. Regis, but he was outfoxed by another real estate developer.

Jenkins said he’s unsure when Trump last visited the area. However, he is certain that the candidate still has many friends here, based on comments he hears at the Pitkin County Republicans’ Saturday Market booth.

Luring Trump back to Aspen took “a lot of persistent calling” from people with connections to Trump world, the local party chair said.

“I guess he heard enough different approaches from multiple sources, all calling to say the same thing,” he said.

U.S. Senate candidate in town this weekend

The county Republican Party is hosting it annual Lincoln Day Dinner on Saturday at the Hotel Jerome from 6 to 9 p.m., featuring keynote speaker Darryl Glenn, the El Paso county commissioner who is the Republican nominee challenging Democratic incumbent Michael Bennet for his seat in the U.S. Senate. Rep. Scott Tipton, who represents Aspen and the rest of Colorado’s 3rd District in the House will also speak, along with former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina. More information on tickets to that and the Trump event is available at www.pitkinpolitics.org.

Glenn, who came out on top of a crowded Republican field to win the nomination based on his appeal to the party’s grassroots, will spend a few hours talking to voters at the Republican booth at the Saturday Market, between about 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., Jenkins said.

curtis@aspendailynews.com

Editor