Trump Jr. in Salem
President’s son speaks at DeWine fundraiser
SALEM — Donald Trump Jr. posed for selfies, roused the GOP faithful in support of Mike DeWine for governor and graciously talked with many attendees during a fundraising reception at the home of Bob and Linda Sebo Thursday.
“He said, ‘I’m here tonight because my father, the president, values Ohio’ for both the past successes they’ve had and future successes they hope to have. This part of Ohio, in particular, is fertile Trump ground,” Columbiana County Republican Party Chairman David Johnson said after the event.
Trump Jr., who was accompanied by former Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle, attended the fundraiser as an emissary for his father and according to Johnson, told the crowd of supporters that “we need someone like Mike DeWine to be our partner at the state level.”
Johnson said the reception was everything he hoped for and more. Everybody had a great time and he commented that he thought Trump Jr. and Guilfoyle had a good time at what he believes may have been the largest fundraiser ever for the local party to hold.
“Anytime you have someone of national prominence come to your little town it shines a spotlight on your community. They left here with a very positive feeling about Salem,” he said.
DeWine, who was accompanied by his wife, Fran, said they were very happy to have Trump Jr. come in for the event.
Johnson made sure the general reception held under a tent outside was affordable at $100 per person so the people who pound the signs in the ground could come right along with the people who pay for the campaigns. A special VIP reception was held inside, with about 40 taking advantage of the chance to have a photo with Trump Jr. for $1,000, and another 24 had dinner at a cost of $12,500 per person. Altogether about 250 people attended.
The purpose was to raise money for DeWine’s gubernatorial campaign, but the attraction was Trump Jr., who recognized Bob Paduchek, who directed his father’s campaign in Ohio. Johnson is a friend of Paduchek’s and that connection helped get Trump Jr. to Salem, but Johnson said “this had to come through the president.”
Johnson also had high praise for Bob and Linda Sebo for hosting the event, saying it would not have happened without their help.
Bill Dotson, a Youngstown artist who completed a painting of all the presidents, showed his work to Trump Jr. during a private meeting in the house and will present it to the president at some point. Jane Timken, the first female state chairman of the Republican Party, also attended, as did many business people from the area, including Mahoning and Trumbull counties.
Salem High School senior Jackson Corbisello thanked Johnson for the opportunity to attend as his guest.
“I think it’s just an incredible experience to see the support for the Republican Party in this area,” he said during a quick visit on Highland Avenue.
His future plans may include Stanford or Yale as a computer science major, but Corbisello said “I’d like to be involved in local politics.”
He spoke to DeWine and said he supports everything he hopes to do for Ohio, especially the increases in technology. Corbisello’s father is an administrator at the Columbiana County Career and Technical Center and Corbisello acknowledged that while his plan is to go to college, it’s not for everyone. He said there are so many options out there.
“Putting people in the best positions to succeed would be the important issue for me,” he said.
News media weren’t allowed to attend the invitation-only event, with no traffic permitted on Quaker Lane without people showing that they either lived there or were invited to the Sebo residence, with both Salem Police and event personnel manning the entrance at Highland and Quaker Lane. Secret Service, the Ohio State Highway Patrol and Columbiana County Sheriff’s Office personnel handled security along with Salem Police.
On one side of the street on Highland Avenue stood a handful of Trump supporters hoisting signs in support of their president, including U.S. Army veteran Jerry Satterfield, who said “I’m out here to support Trump.” Salem High School juniors Bradlee Kitts and Joey Pittman held up a large Trump sign and said “we’re out here to counter them,” pointing across the street to about a dozen protestors who had signs of their own.
Signs dealing with immigration, the cost of the dinner, restoring sanity, respecting “our one Earth” and “Pro USA, anti-Trump” were held up as Trump Jr. arrived. Mickey Cope Weaver, who previously served as Salem City Council President, said some people got together through social media and saw the event as an opportunity.
“It’s a chance for us to get national attention on issues important to all of us,” she said.
Her husband, Dennis, who’s been a lifelong Republican until the recent past said he’s fed up with all the politics. His sign said, “In November, let’s restore dignity and sanity to politics.”
Cindy Stimson of Salem, who’s concerned about immigration issues, said “we’re all descendants of immigrants.”
Cope Weaver agreed with Johnson in that an event like this benefits everybody.
“How many times do we have this opportunity at our doorstep?” she said.
Tina Shafer, a Salem resident standing with the Trump supporters, agreed and said having Trump Jr. in Salem “is pretty awesome.”