Trump threatens lawsuit and blames Democrat mayor as major Minneapolis arena blocks rally

‘We are well aware of mayor Frey’s vocal partisan opposition to president Trump and calls to disrupt the rally,’ campaign claims

Chiara Giordano
Friday 11 October 2019 08:19
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Donald Trump fat shaming person at rally

Donald Trump’s campaign is threatening to sue after claiming a Democrat mayor was behind a major arena allegedly blocking a rally at the eleventh hour.

The US president’s campaign claims it was told to pay the “ridiculous sum” of $530,000 for security and other costs if it wants the event at the Target Centre, in Minneapolis, to go ahead on Thursday.

In a letter to AEG Worldwide (now ASM Global), which runs the arena, the campaign blamed the sudden payment on pressure from the city’s mayor Jacob Frey.

It threatened to take legal action if it does not receive confirmation that the rally will go ahead without the payment by 11am local time (5pm BST) on Tuesday.

The letter, from Trump law firm Jones Day, said: “We presume this contrived legal justification for threatening to terminate the contract is the result of AEG receiving pressure from city leadership determined to cancel the rally.

“We are well aware of mayor Frey’s vocal partisan opposition to president Trump and calls to disrupt the rally.

“Politics is no basis to interfere with a contract, and if the agreement with the campaign is not honoured, the campaign will also look to hold AEG and the city responsible.”

It added: “The ridiculous sum of $530,000 is more than 26 times the estimated security costs for a 2009 Target Centre health care rally held by President Barack Obama.”

Reacting to the announcement that Mr Trump would be visiting Minneapolis, Mr Frey previously said: “While there is no legal mechanism to prevent the president from visiting, his message of hatred will never be welcome in Minneapolis.”

The campaign told the Target Centre, which is home to the Minnesota Timberwolves basketball team, that the US Secret Service is responsible for co-ordinating security.

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It added that blocking the use of the arena would be considered a breach of contract and result in court action.

The “Keep America Great” rally is expected to attract “tens of thousands of the president’s loyal supporters,” the campaign said.

It added that Mr Trump won more than 1.3 million votes in Minnesota and came within 1.5 percentage points of winning the state in 2016.

Mr Frey said in a statement: “It’s not extortion to expect that someone pay their bills, even if that person really hates paying their bills.

“At a time when federal funding for local government is at a historic low, it is unfair for our taxpayers to foot the bill for the operating costs of an event like this with secret service and other major security demands.”

The Independent also contacted the Target Centre and ASM Global for comment.

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