“Hi, Mike,” he said.
“It’s me. Donald. Donald Trump.”
Well, that gives one pause.
En route to Michigan Friday via his private jet, Trump rang Sneed in the latest in a series of short, unscheduled, serendipitous, and infrequent phone chats which began just before Trump’s formal entry into the presidential race last summer.
“Well,” I said. “Thanks. Great. I’ve been calling to find out when you are coming to Chicago and if it will be before the March 15th primary.”
“Yes. Yes. I’m coming to Chicago on Friday, March 11,” said Trump, who apparently hadn’t slept in a bed since the Fox debate Thursday night — and sounded fatigued.
“No. No. Energy. Lots of energy,” he said.
“I’m planning to give a speech when I get to town and stay at my world famous hotel, the Trump Tower,” added Trump.
(His campaign later posted the time and location of the rally — 6 p.m. Friday at the UIC Pavilion — on its website.)
“I love Chicago. I love Mike Ditka. I love my hotel … the Trump Tower, which is No 1. We are No 1. No 1. And how about my polls. Amazing, huh?”
I steered the conversation back to Illinois.
“So what do you think of our (Republican) governor, Bruce Rauner?” I asked.
“Rauner? Who? Don’t know him,” said Trump.
“Why? What’s up,” he added.
“The state of Illinois is in a budget nightmare,” I said. “Broke.”
“Well, don’t know him,” said Trump.
Then he countered: “So what did you think of the (Fox) debate last night,” he asked.
“Well, what do you think?” I said. “Aren’t you guys getting tired of all the mudslinging?”
“I think the debates are getting ridiculous,” he responded.
“It’s the same thing over and over,” he added. “But again, I am winning the debates according to the polls. But I don’t know. We are doing to same thing over and over again.”
Sneed also asked Trump about speculation New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who stunningly pledged his troth to Trump, might be his choice for the vice president.
“I’m not considering anybody right now. Right now I am just focusing on becoming the president, winning the election.
“Then we’ll see who that will be.”
We chatted about the recent dust-up between Trump and the Ricketts family, which owns the Chicago Cubs — ever since disclosures the uber-rich, politically conservative enclave was spending big bucks via a political action committee to fund anti-Trump ads.
Trump had originally blasted the Ricketts last month via Twitter for “secretly spending $’s against me. They better be careful. They have a lot to hide.” Now he tells Sneed:
“I think the Ricketts family should be spending their time trying to develop a championship team — and less time trying to demean Donald Trump.”
“They should spend less time worrying about me. They don’t know me.”
In the new anti-Trump ad, which is running nationally as well as in Illinois, Trump University is hit. “Donald Trump belongs in 3 a.m. infomercials,” not the White House, a narrator says in the ad.
Before signing off, Trump inquired about former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka.
“He’s a great guy. A great guy,” Trump said, who recounted our conversation last year about Ditka’s praise of his candidacy and news Ditka had just told a New York radio station of his desire to vote for Trump amidst a barrage of criticism flung at President Barack Obama.
“Look, Mike,” Trump said. “I’m so happy to hear he did that. Please thank Mike Ditka again for me. Really. Truly. He is such a great guy. A leader. My kinda guy.”
So here’s some food for thought.
Iron Mike Ditka once described a 1986 Super Bowl winning Chicago Bear fan as a “Grabowski”; his description of a hard-working, blue collar kind of guy.
Hmmm. Is that Ditka’s logo for a Trump fan?
I must remember to ask.
A Trump note . . .
Last May 18, Sneed tipped Trump, then considering a presidential bid, was headlining a City Club of Chicago speech at Maggiano’s Little Italy on June 29.
However, when Trump announced his official bid for the presidency on June 16, the City Club speech broke all records. The Trump waiting list grew to 5,000; the room held only 350, according to the stats provided by the City Club’s legendary maestro Jay Doherty.
“We want him back,” Doherty tells Sneed.
Sneedlings . . .
Congratulations to RTA’s Executive Director, Leanne Redden, on being recognized by U.S. Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx, this week in Washington with the “Woman Who Moves The Nation” award. Saturday’s birthdays: Eva Mendes, 42; Paul Konkero, 40, Kyle Schwarber, 23. . . Sunday’s birthdays: Shaquille O’Neal, 44; Jake Arrieta, 30, and Tyler The Creator, 25.