LATEST: President Donald Trump will be in Rochester Friday

Updated: October 29, 2020 11:08 PM
Created: October 28, 2020 11:18 AM

(ABC 6 News) -  It’s official, President Donald Trump is planning a rally and it will be in Rochester.

But this announcement from the city comes after a day of trying to figure out where the rally would be held, and why it kept changing.

The original rally was supposed to be in Rochester at the airport, but that got cancelled.

The next location was supposed to be at McNeilus Steel in Dodge Center, but that got cancelled too.

"It's very disappointing for the community to have a President come here and then get it shut down,” John Allen, a DeCook Excavating worker said.

Now the rally is officially back at the Rochester International Airport, but with some changes, invitation only and only 250 people allowed in.

But for workers like John Allen who spent the day getting ready for President Trump's event in Dodge Center, when he heard the news that the event was cancelled, he was upset.

"People put a lot of time and effort into today, and they were excited about seeing the President of the United States coming to Dodge County. I don't know if there's ever been one here,” Allen said.

One Trump supporter is in a group called Front Row Joes.  It honors a guy who recently died but was always front row at these rallies nationwide.

 "We're really sad, Randall Thom passed away a few weeks ago and he was the first Front Row Joe and we were coming out here to hold the line for him today in honor of him and I just want to say, everyone get out and vote. Vote for a free America,” Melody Black, a member of Front Row Joes said.

Another member of Front Row Joes agrees.

 "Trump would call this a peaceful protest. They allow other types of peaceful protests to go on without being shut down. And that's really shutting down opportunities for regular people who want to come see their President who live in Rochester and this area,” Robert Marvin said.  

When the news broke that President Trump would be at the Rochester International Airport, ABC 6 NEWS Reporter Devin Martin  told Melody and Robert, and they could not contain their excitement.

"We might not be part of the invite only, but we'll be there. This is for Randall. We're going to the airport Randall. We're going to have fun tonight,” they said.

The venue use agreement between the city and the Republican National Committee for the use of the runway at the airport was signed Friday night.  

It says the lease payment is $16,000 and it requires the RNC to carry a $1 million dollars insurance policy to protect the city and it requires the Trump campaign to follow all COVID-19 guidelines.

UPDATE 7:23 p.m.

(ABC 6 News) - The City of Rochester has confirmed that President Trump is holding an invitation only campaign event at the Rochester International Airport Friday at 5 p.m.

The complete press release reads:

The President of the United States is scheduled to be in Rochester, MN on October 30, 2020.  He is expected to land and depart from Rochester International Airport (RST) and the campaign will hold an invitation only event at approximately 5:00 p.m.  RST and various City departments, including the Rochester Police department, are working in partnership with other agencies to support a safe arrival and departure of the President.

Officials have been told that this is now an invitation only event and is not open to the public.  It will comply with State of Minnesota COVID-19 guidelines. 

City Administrator Steve Rymer states, “The priority of the City and RST continues to be the health and safety of our residents and visitors.  We will continue to work with the various agencies to help ensure a safe arrival, departure and visit from President Trump.”     

Travel impacts in the area near RST will be forthcoming.  

UPDATE 3:54 p.m.

According to KSTP reporter Tom Hauser, the southeast Minnesota Trump rally scheduled for Friday evening is moving back to Rochester after an announcement that it was moving to a Dodge Center facility earlier Thursday. 

Hauser tweets that sources say the Secret Service tells the property owners "the state will no longer allow the event." And that when speaking to a spokesman for Governor Walz, Hauser says the governor and MN Department of Health played no role in the move. "I'm now being told the event will move back to the airport and be restricted to 250 people or less." 

This is a breaking news story. We will update here with the latest information as it becomes available. 


(ABC 6 News) - ABC 6 News has confirmed President Trump's rally originally scheduled to take place in Rochester Friday has been moved to Dodge Center.

The rally will now take place at McNeilus Steel. A spokesperson with the City of Rochester said Pres. Trump is still expected to land at Rochester International Airport before traveling to Dodge Center.

This is a breaking news story. Stay with ABC 6 News on-air and online for the latest. 


President Trump will visit Rochester Friday for a rally just days before the election.

Pres. Trump is scheduled to hold a rally at the Rochester International Airport at 5 p.m. Doors are set to open at 2. 

According to the campaign all attendees will be given temperature checks, masks will be required and hand sanitizer will be available. 

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