Wednesday

October 23rd, 2019

2020

Trump campaign accuses Minneapolis arena of extortion, threatens to sue

 Colby Itkowitz

By Colby Itkowitz The Washington Post

Published Oct. 9, 2019

WASHINGTON - The Trump campaign threatened to sue a Minneapolis arena for passing along a half-million-dollar security bill from the city to cover costs of the president's political rally there later this week.

Minneapolis officials told the Target Center, where Trump is slated to appear on Thursday night, that it would be responsible for the $530,000 the city says it will need to beef up security for President Donald Trump's visit. The Target Center then passed the bill along to the Trump campaign and said the campaign would have to pay it or it could not use the arena.

The ensuing battle over the security fees has infuriated the Trump team, which is accusing Democratic Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey of trying to block Trump's visit.

Trump slammed Frey in a tweet Tuesday morning, calling him a "lightweight." Trump's campaign manager, Brad Parscale, accused Frey of "abusing his power."

The Trump campaign's legal team sent the Target Center's parent company, AEG Management, a letter Monday declaring that refusing to allow Trump to hold his event there would be a breach of contract. The letter said the Trump campaign "will aggressively pursue all remedies available to it in law or equity."

In a statement accompanying the public release of the letter, Parscale accused Frey of extortion by "conjuring a phony and outlandish bill for security in an effort to block a scheduled Keep America Great rally."


"The radical Mayor of Minneapolis, @Jacob_Frey, is abusing his power in an attempt to block the President's supporters from seeing him speak on Thursday," Parscale tweeted Tuesday morning with a map of Minnesota showing the counties Trump won in 2016. "We refuse to be bullied by a left-winger resister & won't let him stifle the speech of @realDonaldTrump or his supporters!"

Trump retweeted his campaign manager and wrote: "The lightweight mayor is hurting the great police and other wonderful supporters. 72,000 ticket requests already. Dump Frey and Omar! Make America Great Again!" Trump's rally is to be held in the congressional district of Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar.

Frey, who has been an outspoken critic of Trump, responded to the president's tweet shortly thereafter.

"Yawn . . .to Minneapolis where we pay our bills, we govern with integrity, and we love all of our neighbors," Frey tweeted back.

After Trump announced his intent to visit the city, Frey said in a statement that while there was "no legal mechanism to prevent the president from visiting, his message of hatred will never be welcome in Minneapolis."

The mayor's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but a spokesman for the city, Casper Hill, said in an email that the public safety cost of Trump's visit is estimated to be around $400,000 and another $130,000 will probably be needed for lane closures, traffic control and other such disruptions.

"For context, the City's public safety and other essential services costs during the Super Bowl in 2018 was roughly $6 million and $1.5 million for the Final Four earlier this year," Hill said. "The City has used the same methodology to determine public safety, traffic control and other costs for the political rally at Target Center."

Nearly three hours after his first tweets on the subject, Trump went after the Minneapolis mayor again. The president is also irked by a rule change ahead of his visit banning law enforcement officers from wearing their uniforms to political events. Instead, Trump-supporting police officers are planning to wear bright red shirts that say: "Cops for Trump."

"Someone please tell the Radical Left Mayor of Minneapolis that he can't price out Free Speech. Probably illegal! I stand strongly & proudly with the great Police Officers and Law Enforcement of Minneapolis and the Great State of Minnesota! See you Thursday Night!

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