Trump cancels stay at his Chicago hotel during Milwaukee Republican convention after word leaks out

Despite preparations being made in Chicago for former President Donald Trump to stay at the Trump Tower during the GOP convention, the campaign on Tuesday announced an apparent change in plans.

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Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Wisconsin in April.

Former president and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has changed his plans about staying at Trump Tower in Chicago during the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee in July.

Jim Watson/AFP

Before ex-President Donald Trump got in a jam for calling Milwaukee “horrible” weeks before the city hosts the Republican National Convention, law enforcement officials were preparing for him to stay at his Chicago hotel during the event, the Sun-Times has learned.

Several law enforcement agencies, including the Illinois State Police, were part of the team planning for the former president and presumptive 2024 GOP presidential nominee to stay at the Trump International Tower and Hotel, 401 N. Wabash.

Law enforcement officials held a walk-through of the building — with a hotel and condos — last week.

Word about Trump’s Chicago potential stay during the convention in the critical swing state of Wisconsin started leaking out on Tuesday, and by the afternoon, the Trump campaign told the Sun-Times the former president plans to stay in Milwaukee during the convention, July 15-18.

The New York Times on Tuesday reported Trump had booked his Chicago hotel, but changed his mind when reporters started to ask questions, summing it up with the headline, “Trump Wasn’t Going to Stay in Milwaukee. Then Reporters Asked.”

Trump is well known for preferring to stay at his properties. The apparent change of hotel plans also highlights the tight hotel situation for host city Milwaukee. Some attendees are being housed in hotels as far as Madison. In contrast, Chicago, which hosts the Democratic National Convention Aug. 19-22, has so many big hotels — all union — that all the delegates are staying in eight hotels all downtown.

The Democrats were quick to jump on this on the day Trump was speaking at a big rally in Racine, not far from the Illinois border. Trump, at the start of the rally said to cheers, “I love Milwaukee.”

“Of course Donald Trump doesn’t want to stay in Milwaukee, he thinks it’s a ‘horrible’ city,” Garren Randolph, Biden’s Wisconsin campaign manager said in a statement. “We don’t want him here either — Wisconsinites rejected him four years ago and we will again this November.”

The Trump campaign has denied that he called the city “horrible,” and said he was referencing problems in the city, including “violent crime and voter fraud.”

Wisconsin is one of a handful of swing states critical to the 2024 presidential election. In 2020, President Joe Biden beat Trump 49.4% to 48.8%

Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) said he is preparing for protests outside the building during the Republican convention, with or without Trump being there. Hopkins said anti-Trump protesters smashed a window at the tower last week.

“That’s just sort of not terribly unusual for Trump Tower, which is a lightning rod for protest activity and has been for a long time,” Hopkins said. “I think it’s fair to say we expected protests near Trump Tower during the event, without him possibly being here. We were getting ready for that inevitability. So we’re still trying to get some more specific information about his itinerary but even short of that, we knew there would be protests and we’re prepared for it.”

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