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Protesters ‘welcome’ Trump to Boston fund-raiser

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Several protesters demonstrated outside the Langham Hotel Wednesday morning, anticipating Donald Trump’s arrival to Boston for a rescheduled campaign fund-raiser.
Several protesters demonstrated outside the Langham Hotel Wednesday morning, anticipating Donald Trump’s arrival to Boston for a rescheduled campaign fund-raiser.

Donald Trump swooped into the Financial District Wednesday for a high-dollar fundraiser at the Langham Hotel, where about 100 demonstrators filled the sidewalks across the street to protest the presumptive GOP nominee's visit.

Trump's trip is part of a campaign swing to New England that also includes a rally in Bangor, Maine, and a policy address in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Trump originally scheduled the Langham Hotel fund-raiser for June 13, but he canceled it after a mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub killed 49 people. On that day — his last trip to the region — Trump delivered a speech in Manchester, N.H., that criticized US immigration policy and the presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.


Since then, Trump campaign fund-raising reports showed just over $1 million in the bank — a fraction of what Clinton reported on hand. Tickets to Trump's Boston fund-raiser started at $2,700 a seat.

Inside the hotel, "no more than 100" people attended the fund-raiser at Bond restaurant, said state party committee member Janet Fogarty. In remarks that lasted between 20 and 30 minutes, Trump contrasted his own free-wheeling style with Hillary Clinton's more buttoned-down approach, she said.

Trump's talk with guests focused on his twin themes of economic and national security. He touted reviews of his Tuesday speech, which focused on trade, noting that "even CNN" had praised it, said Louis Murray, a Quincy financial planner who was in the room.

Other attendees included New York Jets owner Woody Johnson; automotive heir Ernie Boch Jr.; former US senator Scott Brown, who introduced Trump; and state GOP chairwoman Kirsten Hughes.

Johnson, referring to the protesters across the street, joked to a hotel greeter as he entered the lobby, "It's good to have supporters."

Around the start of the noon fund-raiser, drivers honked and spectators watched the demonstrations. Outside the hotel, some people chanted, "Hey, hey, let's be clear, no racists are welcome here" and sang, "This Land is Your Land."


A range of activists — state Sierra Club chapter members, social workers, self-described communists, #BlackLivesMatters supporters, and LGBT advocates — stood together, directing their signs and chants to the front of the Langham Hotel.

"We think it's important to stand up against bigotry, against racism, for climate justice," said Emily Norton, a Newton councilor and Sierra Club chapter director. "He's a hypocrite and a liar."

US Representative Michael Capuano spoke to protesters at the start of the rally, along with Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley. Police surrounded the Langham Hotel, monitoring the protests around Post Office Square.

Daniel Hoffer, the political director of Service Employees International Union, which helped organize the protest, said heightened law enforcement is expected whenever Trump comes to town.

"Trump's track record, especially in the larger Trump events where he brings big crowds in, those have often been where things turned sour," Hoffer said. "This was very different as it was a fund-raiser… there wasn't really another crowd to bounce off."

The protest piqued the lunchtime interest of Financial District employees, with people in suits snapping photos of the rally on their smartphones, or sipping their coffee underneath the shade of the surrounding buildings.

"Everybody is entitled to protest," said Bruce Peck, 59, a Trump supporter who works about a block away. "It seems pretty peaceful."

Later on Wednesday, Trump is scheduled to host an afternoon rally in Bangor, Maine. The Pine Tree State awards some of its electoral votes to the winner of each congressional district, and a recent poll showed the 2nd Congressional District, which includes Bangor, could be competitive for Trump.


The governor of Maine, Paul LePage, has said he will join Trump at the rally.

Jim O'Sullivan of the Globe staff and Meg Bernhard, a Globe correspondent, contributed to this report. Miguel Otárola can be reached at miguel.otarola@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @motarola123.