Donald Trump hosts Tahoe fundraiser amid small group of protesters
STATELINE, Nev. — Excited onlookers at the Lake Tahoe Airport waited for the arrival of Donald Trump — some for several hours — from the balcony of the Flight Deck Sports Bar and Grill on Aug. 26.
South Lake Tahoe Police, El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department, California Highway Patrol, South Lake Tahoe Fire and Rescue and other law enforcement officials were positioned throughout the airport and runway in anticipation of the Republican presidential nominee’s visit.
Secret Service agents, bomb-sniffing dogs, rooftop gunmen and a tarmac-full of SUVs and police vehicles created quite the buzz at the normally quiet local airport.
Trump arrived in a private plane — not the usual red, white and blue Boeing 757-200 bearing his name — around 7 p.m. for his fundraising dinner at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe in Stateline.
The event took place in the casino’s Sand Harbor Ballroom and sold out, with VIP tables going for $5,000 and general admission tickets for $200. The media was not invited to attend the fundraiser, which was put on by the Nevada Republican Party.
South Lake Tahoe city council member Tom Davis attended the dinner, and said he was impressed by the enthusiasm of the crowd.
“He was energized and so was the crowd. It was an interesting experience. I’m looking forward to having Obama here on Wednesday. We’ve got quite the busy little town,” said Davis, who estimated there were over 800 people in attendance.
Gerri Grego, a member of the South Lake Tahoe Republican Women’s Group, said the event started with a prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem.
“Nevada Party Chairman Michael McDonald first introduced Congressman Mark Amodei who spoke a short time,” Grego said. “McDonald then introduced Donald Trump with a story. He said that he has been a sheriff all of his life, and many months ago Trump told him that he would come back to Nevada and speak. So he said, ‘a promise made — and a promise kept.’”
Grego said she went into the event with concerns given what she’d read and heard about Trump in the news, but left feeling hopeful.
“I saw a man who cared about all people of this country, whatever their background, ethnicity or income level. I saw somebody who wanted to improve the lives of our American citizens,” recalled Grego. “I went there hoping that I would feel confident in this candidate and after I went and saw and heard him, I did come away with those feelings.”
Grego said she was relieved to hear Trump’s position on issues she has concerns over, too, including “immigration, our constitutional rights, overregulation, Supreme Court appointments, illegal drug control, a better health insurance plan, better trade deals, debt and local control over land and education.”
According to Grego, Trump also addressed the political bias he sees in media coverage.
“I believe most people have seen this, as on occasion it is quite obvious, other times more disguised,” explained Grego. “He spoke on how many people, while they support him, are afraid to say they do. I know this to be true as people are afraid to put stickers on their cars, or signs in their yards or even say that they support Trump.”
Grego said she has not always been a Trump supporter, but after the fundraising dinner, her worries over him as the candidate have been relieved.
On the other side of the political spectrum, a group of roughly 15 anti-Trump protestors gathered outside Harrah’s during the fundraiser with signs saying “Tell Trump: It is Un-American To Ban Muslims,” “Make Donald Drumpf Again” and “Donald Trump Make Tahoe Great Again Please Leave Soon.”
No incidents of violence or misconduct were reported during Trump’s visit, said Douglas County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Sgt. Bernadette Smith.