Minneapolis mayor defends high price tag for Trump campaign rally

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey (D) defended charging the Trump campaign more than half a million dollars to hold a rally Thursday at the Target Center.

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The $530,000 charge was 26 times more than President Barack Obama paid for a health care rally, the campaign said.

Frey said he asked for the money up front because, he claimed in a Washington Post op-ed, the campaign owes $570,000 to El Paso, Texas, and $16,200 to Lebanon, Ohio, for rally-related fees.

President Donald Trump greeted cheering crowds during a campaign rally at the Target Center, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019, in Minneapolis. (Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune via AP)

Frey revealed that under the city’s contract with the publicly owned, privately operated Target Center, Minneapolis is entitled for reimbursement for certain costs for public safety, traffic control and the like.

“Had the venue been privately owned, we wouldn’t have had as much leverage to recoup costs,” Frey wrote.

Using other recent, large-scale events in the city like last year's $6 million Super Bowl LII and April's $1.5 million NCAA Men’s Final Four as precedents, Frey calculated a projected bill of $530,000 for Trump’s campaign rally.

Minneapolis police on horseback ride through a group of protesters outside the Target Center, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019, in Minneapolis. Protesters got into a brief confrontation with police outside President Donald Trump's campaign rally in Minneapoli

“When the president learned that Minneapolis was seeking reimbursement, he did not call me directly to discuss details,” Frey wrote. “He did not seek to better understand the terms of the contract. He took to Twitter to make threats, inflame his base ahead of the event and lash out at me and the diverse city I represent.”

Frey added that at the moment, the matter “remains a stand-off,” with the booking agent still seeking payment from Trump’s campaign as the city of Minneapolis continues to seek reimbursement.

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Trump accused the Minneapolis mayor last week of trying to "price out" free speech with the massive $530,000 bill.

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