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Top Trump donors hitting Chicago; Cubs game on agenda

Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts leads the fundraising drive to re-elect President Donald Trump.

Donald Trump with Todd Ricketts, a co-owner of the Chicago Cubs.
President-elect Donald Trump with Todd Ricketts, a co-owner of the Chicago Cubs, are shown after they met at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse in Bedminster, N.J., in November 2016, shortly after the election.
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The highest rollers to President Donald Trump’s re-election drive — chaired by Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts — hit Chicago Friday for a “Trump Victory Committee Summer Retreat” featuring White House Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, capped with a Saturday game at Wrigley Field.

All of the retreat political events take place at the Four Seasons Hotel, 120 E. Delaware Place.

On Saturday night, these top donors head to Wrigley for the Cubs-Cardinals game. Before that, there will be a reception near Wrigley at the American Airlines Conference Center, 1101 W. Waveland Ave.

Besides Mulvaney and Bernhardt, in office only since April 11, the other “special guests” listed in the invitation include another Cubs co-owner and GOP Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts; Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont.; Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., and his wife; FOX News contributor Rachel Campos-Duffy; and top officials from the GOP Senate and House political operations.

Except for Todd Ricketts, a Wilmette resident, no one from the Illinois Republican political world is listed on the invite. Trump is deeply unpopular in Illinois, one of the bluest states in the nation.

The retreat provides the contributors face time with notables in the GOP and Trump orbits. The organizers are sensitive that the remarks of the White House and congressional officials may leak. The invitation states “no cell phones, Apple Watches, or IPads are permitted” during the retreat and “all audio and video recording is strictly prohibited.”

Another Cubs co-owner, Laura Ricketts, is a major Democrat donor and fundraiser. For years, Republican and Democratic political operations have routinely hosted fundraising events at Wrigley Field.

In order to preserve the legal fiction that the retreat is not connected to raising money, the invitation states that Mulvaney and Bernhardt are “special guests for this event and their participation is not a solicitation of funds.”

Creating a “retreat” — and this is true for Democrats and Republicans — is a perk to stroke the best donors. That’s why there is no price tag to attend. They don’t have to be solicited. Most are eligible to attend because they have already given or pledged significant support.

Attendees at the retreat, first disclosed by Axios, will be able to attend panels on “winning in 2020,” “messages and the media” as well as “leadership initiative training.”