NEARBY: Crowd Gathers For Glimpse Of Former Pres. Trump Outside Of Fundraiser

Credit: Tom Sofield/LevittownNow.com

Hundreds of supporters of former President Donald Trump gathered in Newtown Township to greet him as he arrived for a pricey fundraiser Saturday afternoon.

The crowd cheered, screamed, and waved flags with Trump’s image or name printed on them as the former president’s motorcade pulled into the Newtown Athletic Club for the 2024 campaign fundraiser.

As this news organization previously reported, tickets for the fundraiser cost $2,500 to get in and packages went up to $250,000, according to those who had seen the invitations. The various tiers offered donors differing levels of access to Trump, with some including a photo opportunity.

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The event, which lasted approximately two hours, was part of a larger strategy by Trump and the national GOP to close the fundraising gap with President Joe Biden’s campaign, which recently reported a substantial financial advantage.

Trump was in the Newtown Athletic Club for approximately two hours before heading to a rally outside of Allentown via a flight from Philadelphia.

Former President Trump arriving in Newtown Township.
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A GOP source said in advance of the Newtown Township event that it was expected to pull in more than $1 million for Trump’s campaign and affiliated fundraising groups. There were around 300 people who attended.

The fundraiser was hosted by Newtown Athletic Club owner Jim Worthington and his wife, Kim Levins. They were joined by co-hosts Debra and Dom Caglioti, and Adam Kidan, a prominent GOP donor who pleaded guilty in a fraud and conspiracy case related to a political scandal in the early 2000s.

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Sue Runard, of Philadelphia, said she wanted to see Trump in person and had hoped he would get out and shake her hand.

“He’s a man of the people when he could be an aristocrat,” she said. “If he was still in office today, we wouldn’t have the problems that the Biden regime has brought on us with the inflation, grocery prices, wars, and so much hate. He just brings so much love and calm and we want him to know we love him back.”

A number of supporters said they were hoping to meet the former president or get a glimpse of him as he entered.

Former President Trump peers out of the armored SUV.
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As the Secret Service motorcade, which was escorted by local and state police, passed the crowd, it slowed and Trump was seen through the thick glass of the armored SUV looking at the crowd that had come to watch him arrive.

Lynd Johnson, of Chalfont, gushed about her appreciation for Trump’s time in office.

Lynd Johnson at the rally.
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“Trump took office and he said Merry Christmas to everybody. He made it okay to say Merry Christmas,” she said. “We could go into the grocery store and we could say something like ‘Merry Christmas.’ I don’t care if it was Happy Hanukkah or Happy Kwanzaa, but we could say Merry Christmas again.”

She added: “My heart jumped for joy because I knew I had a commander-in-chief that has respect for the Constitution and everything that was built on Western Civilization. That’s what our Constitution is based on. That’s what brought me out today.”

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Jules, a resident of Bristol Borough, said her support of Trump hasn’t waivered since 2016. She added that she has attended several rallies, even traveling to North Carolina, to see him.

“We know he’s the one who can be president by winning again. He’s my candidate and we can’t wait for another term,” Jules said. “We’ve seen how smart he is and how kind he is to everyone. He’s someone who speaks and people listen and they respect him more than the man who is president now.”

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One man, who refused to give his name, said Trump meant “so much” to him and he had been making “a lot more” money prior to COVID-19.

“We’re out here to tell him we need him back. The Never Trumps and Democrats won’t believe this crowd,” he said.

The event featured a T-shirt store selling Trump-branded gear and a soundtrack of classic hits and clips of Trump speaking.

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Supporters of GOP congressional candidate Mark Houck were handing out flyers to the crowd and put up a number of signs ahead of the primary election later this month.

A campaign worker for Republican Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick was booed as he put up signs.

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There were only two people opposing Trump who countered the pro-Trump crowd during the event.

“I felt compelled to stand up and show him and people that follow him that we’re not going away. We’re not ashamed of our president, Joe Biden,” said Ann Perry of Morrisville Borough, who held up a sign that referenced Trump’s reported affair with a porn star and the upcoming criminal trial related to payments to covering it up.

Ann Perry at the rally.
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A man wearing a Newtown hat held up a “Trump for Jail 2024” sign and was yelling at the pro-Trump crowd. The man said Trump was immoral, racist, and a criminal. A young girl told the man the pro-Trump crowd outnumbered him.

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The man and supporters of Trump yelled insults and cursed at one another. Police had to tell both sides to calm down.

Joseph Buss, of Dublin Borough, explained that he came out to show support for Trump and help create a festive atmosphere for the event.

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Buss and some others were upset that police kept the pro-Trump crowd in a defined space along Penns Trail Road. Officers told members of the crowd they were following the orders of the Secret Service, which provides protection for presidents and former presidents.

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One man yelled that police were “gutless cowards” and working with the FBI, while another called police “fascists.”

Along the Newtown Bypass, a bit away from the main group of Trump supporters, a group of Democrats rallied against Trump and his message. They decorated vehicles with support for Democratic candidates, including congressional candidate Ashley Ehasz, who spoke to the group.

Ashley Ehasz with a billboard truck ahead of Trump’s arrival.
Credit: Submitted

“Everything is on the line in November,” said Melissa Branngan, of Indivisible Bucks County. “We must all reject MAGA and its hateful anti-woman, anti-democracy policies up and down the ballot. I think today’s showing demonstrates that we will do just that!”

Earlier on Saturday, Ehasz took part in a press conference in Bucks County put on by the campaign of Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. Ehasz and a number of other Democratic congressional candidates from the state called out Trump’s support of the anti-abortion movement.

Ehasz speaking at the Democrat’s press conference on Saturday.
Credit: Submitted

“I stand here today as an Iraq war veteran. I flew Apache helicopters overseas and in warzones. I flew deadly missions to protect America’s freedoms. But now, thanks to former President Donald Trump, Roe v. Wade is gone. It is overturned and I stand here as a second class citizen in the country I fought to defend,” said Ehasz. “And so when we look at what Brian Fitzpatrick and Donald Trump are trying to do, they are trying to take away access to life saving reproductive health care for military members and their families. That is a damn way to repay their sacrifice to our country.”

Jack Doyle, the Biden-Harris campaign’s communications director for the state, said ahead of Trump’s visit that the former president was in Bucks County to “beg millionaires to bail out his struggling campaign.”

Trump’s fundraiser in Newtown Township was part of a series aimed at reducing the gap with Biden’s reelection effort. The GOP announced it had raised over $65.6 million in March, with Trump’s campaign ending the month with $93.1 million on hand. Meanwhile, Biden and the Democrats raised over $90 million in the same period, with their campaign funds totaling $192 million.

Trump’s stop in Newtown Township wasn’t his first to the township. Worthington, a backer of Trump, Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, and other Republicans, previously welcomed Trump at his sports complex in Newtown Township in 2016.

It was uncertain whether Fitzpatrick attended the fundraiser, and his campaign spokesperson did not reply to a request for comment. Although Trump endorsed Fitzpatrick in 2020, the congressman has since declined to discuss the endorsement.

Trump’s visit brought out a significant police presence that included Newtown Township, Newtown Borough, Middletown Township, Yardley Borough, Lower Makefield Township, Upper Makefield Township, Buckingham Township, and Philadelphia police. In addition to the Secret Service and members of a local tactical team, the Bucks County Major Incident Response Team, which is made up of officers and deputies from around the county, was handling crowd control.

Credit: Tom Sofield/LevittownNow.com

Newtown Township police Chief John Hearn said the extended road closures were limited to around the Newtown Athletic Club.

As Trump’s motorcade arrived and left the township, law enforcement officials blocked part of the Newtown Bypass, I-295, and I-95.

The former president’s motorcade departing on the Newtown Bypass.
Credit: Tom Sofield/LevittownNow.com
Credit: Tom Sofield/LevittownNow.com
Credit: Tom Sofield/LevittownNow.com
Credit: Tom Sofield/LevittownNow.com
Credit: Tom Sofield/LevittownNow.com
Credit: Tom Sofield/LevittownNow.com
Credit: Tom Sofield/LevittownNow.com
Credit: Tom Sofield/LevittownNow.com
Credit: Tom Sofield/LevittownNow.com
Credit: Tom Sofield/LevittownNow.com
Credit: Tom Sofield/LevittownNow.com

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