Opponents are planning to protest Wednesday outside Bolingbrook Golf Club, where a twice-postponed campaign fundraising luncheon for Donald Trump could draw hundreds of supporters of the Republican nominee for U.S. President.
Members of the grass-roots Suburban Families Against Hate declared on their website they will make their presence known during the Trump event.
“It is an insult to our diverse community to have a racist billionaire raising money in our town, invited by our mayor,” a message on the website stated.
Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Bolingbrook Public Safety Director Tom Ross on Tuesday wouldn’t discuss specifics of the security measures. He praised Bolingbrook as being “a diverse community with diverse opinions,” and said “we’re looking to have no problems” during Trump’s noon appearance.
Ross, a former village police official, said “several hundred people” were invited to and are expected to attend the luncheon. He would not venture a guess as to how many might rally outside the country club, located southwest of the intersection of Rodeo Drive and King’s Road.
Protesters were encouraged to “make and bring your own signs,” but also were reminded to make the gathering “a peaceful protest. This is a protest against hate, (and) not an event designed to promote any one political party or candidate.”
Group members did not reply to a message that sought further comment on their plans during Trump’s appearance.
Ross said the secret service “is in charge of (Trump’s) protection, and we’re assisting them.” Police will be “ramping up (their presence) after the morning rush hour and then wrapping up before the evening rush hour.”
Officials are “working with demonstrators to exercise their First Amendment rights in a peaceful and safe way that respects everybody’s rights,” Ross said. Toward that end, an open tract of land north of Rodeo Drive and opposite the country club will serve as a demonstration area for Trump supporters and critics, as well as those backing fringe candidates.
The village has installed portable toilets and trash cans in the area, and also will provide bottled water for the demonstrators, Ross said.
“It’s a big field, and there’s plenty of room,” Ross said. “And it’ll be well-policed.”
The village earlier worked with local public school officials, sending notices to parents of students attending the two grade schools and middle school in the country club’s orbit, and making them aware of the fundraiser, Ross said. Fliers also were left at an estimated 500 nearby homes, alerting residents to the upcoming Trump appearance, he said.
Ross said the flow of traffic on Rodeo Drive and King’s Road was not expected to be impacted by the fundraiser. “Both will still be open” all day Wednesday, he said.
The Trump event has ticket prices ranging from $1,000 to attend the luncheon to $250,000 per couple. The higher-priced ticket includes getting named as an event chairman; luncheon with “prime seating”; a photo opportunity; and attendance at a pre-lunch “VIP roundtable.”
Claar, Bolingbrook’s longtime mayor, is a member of the Illinois Republican State Central Committee.