Donald Trump's appearance at the Langham Hotel in Boston aims to bring in campaign dollars for his presidential campaign, though many elected Republican lawmakers may be more focused on business before the House and Senate on Wednesday.
Massachusetts Republican Party Chairwoman Kirsten Hughes told the News Service on her way to the fundraiser that she doesn't expect many Massachusetts elected officials — though she noted Rep. Geoff Diehl, an early supporter of Trump, would likely be there.
The bombastic New York City real estate developer, poised to take the Republican presidential nomination in Cleveland next month, rescheduled an earlier fundraiser for a day when both the House and the Senate are meeting in formal sessions. Many Republican lawmakers backed GOP presidential contenders who were defeated by Trump.
A lightning rod among some conservatives and most Democrats, Trump's rhetoric has soured Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, who said he won't vote for any of the presidential candidates in November.
Trump won the Massachusetts Republican primary with 49 percent of the vote in March on his way toward a record-setting amount of Republican primary votes nationwide. Trump's latest fundraising reporting showed that presumed Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton eclipsed his campaign dollars.
Inside the fundraiser, U.S. Sen. Scott Brown and Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr were in attendance, according to a person with knowledge of the attendees who requested anonymity. The person also confirmed Trump's attendance. Around noon, Brown tweeted a photo of himself, his wife Gail Huff, Carr, auto magnate Ernie Boch Jr. and others.
Trump's appearance in Boston's Post Office Square on Wednesday drew dozens of protestors, including Congressman Michael Capuano and Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley.
"I don't know how someone can claim to want to make America great again when the very people who have made America he vilifies — immigrants, people of color, women, the LGBT community, workers," Pressley told the News Service before addressing the crowd.
While national polls have shown Trump struggling in Republican-voting states such as Utah, Diehl has said Trump's campaign could put Massachusetts into play, though the state is usually a reliable win for Democrats in presidential contests.
Vowing not to underestimate the Republican, Pressley said without hard work Bay Staters could be a "complicit accessory in our complacency in endorsing this vitriolic person."
"This isn't a dream, some faraway dream," Pressley said. "This is a nightmare that we are living."
Told of Pressley's allusion to a "nightmare," Hughes asked, "'Cuz he's at a hotel?"
"That's ridiculous. It's still America. It's free speech," Hughes told the News Service.
Joe Lazzerini, a political organizer with SEIU Local 888, said he was one of the organizers of the protest, and he led chants among the protestors on the sidewalk across from the hotel.
Capuano, a Somerville Democrat, told the crowd Trump's foreign policy approach is "unbelievably stupid."
"You don't go around the world poking people in the eye for no good reason," Capuano said.