INDIANAPOLIS – Nearly a year to the date after Indiana’s Republican primary, Donald Trump Jr. was back in Indianapolis, thanking Hoosier Republicans for helping launch his father to the presidency.
“It’s totally surreal,” Trump Jr. said Monday night downtown. “It’s hard to believe, and this was really the start of it all.”
Trump Jr. delivered the keynote address at the Indiana Republican Party's annual spring dinner.. Now helping run the Trump Organization, he remains a fierce defender of his father and a rising star himself within the Republican Party, fully unable he said to isolate himself from politics and events.
“They said it’s in Indiana,” Trump Jr. said. “I said that’s a no-brainer because if we did happen to steal your governor, it’s probably the least I could do to say thank you.”
Trump Jr. said he talked with Vice President Mike Pence earlier in the day, Indiana’s former governor, who thanked him for his speech Monday evening that delivered a warning to Hoosier Republicans.
“We have a great opportunity to do something special, which is why it’s so important for us to not just sit back on these wins,” he said.
About one thousand Hoosiers paid to attend Monday’s event. Party officials said it was the largest attendance ever in a non-election year, bringing in near historic money to fuel key elections in 2018, most critically the move to unseat Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.).
“It’s going to take hard work, work on all our parts,” Kyle Hupfer said, state party chairman. “It’s going to take dollars. It’s going to take time. It’s going to take shoe leather, but together we can and we will win the senate seat.”
In response, the Indiana Democratic Party dismissed Trump Jr.’s speech as 'empty' and 'partisan.'
"Donald Trump, Jr. and Indiana Republicans don't understand - Hoosiers are more interested in whether someone will fight our state in the Senate than the party they're in,” Will Baskin-Gerwitz said in a statement, a party spokesperson.
Two key Indiana congressman, Rep. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita, both who are exploring the possibility of a run attended Monday's dinner as Trump Jr. promised to campaign nationwide in key states to maintain Republican control of Congress.
“Indiana has a big opportunity in ’18,” he said. “We can change the course of the Senate. We can give my father that extra vote that will probably be needed, a vote that will be all too important.”