Updated at 3:10 p.m.: Earlier today there was a real question of whether or not presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump would be able to find a venue for a planned campaign rally in Houston on Friday. Now that question has been put to rest because Trump's official campaign schedule shows that he will be holding a public rally at 7 p.m. on Friday at the Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel and Convention Center. So yeah, Trump is coming to town and even the non-campaign donor plebs will have a chance to score tickets and see him. Media too.
Donald Trump is coming to Houston on Friday, but he's currently not scheduled to hold any campaign rallies or make public appearances while he's here.
However, apparently this isn't because the controversial presumptive Republican presidential nominee (and possible future overlord) doesn't wish to make these appearances. Nope, instead it turns out that he can't find a place large enough (because if Trump appears, people will show up, either to protest or support him) or safe enough to hold the rallies, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Originally, Trump was going to pop up in Dallas on Thursday for a rally and a private fundraiser, followed by another rally and a private fundraiser in Houston on Friday as part of a three-city tour through Texas. (He's still showing up in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio for private fundraisers, as we've previously reported.) But on Wednesday morning his official campaign schedule showed blank spaces on both days instead of public rallies, according to the DMN.
Trump campaign organizers were reportedly trying to secure a venue but were turned down by city officials in Grand Prairie and Irving, small towns located on the suburban periphery of Dallas, because of security issues and the size of their respective venues. The organizers at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in downtown Dallas also declined to host a Trump rally because the space was already booked.
Ultimately, it appears that Trump's people found a place in Dallas — his campaign schedule was updated shortly before noon on Wednesday to show an event to be held Thursday evening at Gilley's Dallas-Southside Ballroom, a venue that holds about 1,500 at the most. The same thing may happen in Houston, but none of the likely venues have been secured so far.
The larger options in and around Houston don't seem like they're going to pan out at this point. NRG Stadium officials say no one has contacted them about hosting a rally in Houston on Friday. The George R. Brown Convention Center is already holding Comicpalooza 2016, and there's an Astros game at Minute Maid Park.
Sam Houston Race Park doesn't have anything on its calendar and the Toyota Center also has Friday available. We've called to see if Trump's campaign coordinators have contacted booking agents at either space about using one of these venues. We'll update when we hear back.
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If Trump's people are looking to hold a rally in a secure space on a smaller scale as they've opted for Dallas, Revention Music Center may work, but officials there say they haven't heard from Trump's people. "No, we are definitely not a home for that," an official told us.
Warehouse Live is also otherwise engaged. "That would be amazing if they did call us. We could maybe mix the Trap Karaoke and Trump. That'd be something to see," a Warehouse employee told us. House of Blues is also already occupied with scheduled concerts as well.
If Trump's people opt to go the suburban route Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion isn't holding any events on Friday, but so far the employees there say they've heard nothing about a possible Trump appearance. We've asked Trump's people if there are any plans to hold a public event in Houston, but we haven't heard back yet. We'll update if we do.
There is one thing we are fairly certain of though. While Trump may not manage to make a public appearance in Houston, he's almost definitely going to be at lawyer Tony Buzbee's home in River Oaks on Friday. And you can be there too, if you're a campaign donor. (We've been informed the media isn't invited, go figure.) But don't write a check for $50 and show up ready to meet the potential future president. Campaign donors who kick in $5,400 will get two tickets to the general reception while donors who give $250,000 will get a photo opp and admission to the VIP reception as well.