Trump invite to Pa. GOP fundraiser stirs controversy

     Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, seen in reflection, poses for a portrait following an interview with the Associated Press at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, this month. (Andrew Harnik/AP Photo)

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, seen in reflection, poses for a portrait following an interview with the Associated Press at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, this month. (Andrew Harnik/AP Photo)

    Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s controversial proposal to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. comes just days before he’s to headline a fundraiser for the Pennsylvania Republican Party Friday in New York as part of the Pennsylvania Society weekend. Are Keystone State Republicans having second thoughts?

    Not state party chairman Rob Gleason. He told me inviting Trump was smart because he’s a leading presidential candidate, sure to attract attention and donors. He said if any Pennsylvania Republicans want him to yank the invitation, he hasn’t heard from them.

    “I have not,” he said. “We extended the invitation. He accepted it, and any comments I read in the media were him being criticized by Democrats.”

    I think Gleason maybe wasn’t reading so carefully.

    Last week before the latest controversy, Pennsylvania Congressmen Pat Meehan and Charles Dent said inviting him was a bad idea. U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey said Tuesday on Twitter than Trump was “wrong,” and that the U.S. should not have a religious test for entry to the country.

    I also spoke to  Fred Anton, president of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association and a longtime Republican donor who’s used to attending  the annual fundraiser.

    “I’ve probably gone to it for the last 10 years, and I decided not to go,” Anton said. “I don’t think it’s a good idea to have Donald Trump as the speaker.”

    Gleason said the party has sold about 300 tickets at $1,000 each.

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