DALLAS - In spite of reports that many Republicans are backing away from Donald Trump, the presidential candidate held private fundraisers in Dallas and San Antonio on Tuesday in hopes of collecting several million dollars.
Trump flew into Dallas Love Field just before 3 p.m. and was joined by donors who stumped for him during his afternoon San Antonio visit. Before leaving for a rally in Florida, Trump stopped and took pictures with Dallas police officers.
About 100 donors attended the fundraiser at the Hilton Dallas Lincoln Center that lasted just over an hour. Single tickets started at $2,700, and couples were asked to give or collect as much as $893,000. No media was allowed inside, but organizers say they raised more than $5 million, more than half of Trump’s nationwide goal.
Among those still standing by Trump is Texas Congressman Michael Burgess.
"I think all of us underwent some introspection the last couple of days,” Burgess said. “There was some rough language use. But to my knowledge, presidents use rough language. And it's not always caught on tape.”
Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, Trump's Texas campaign chairman, says the hastily organized events in Dallas and San Antonio proved that polls showing Trump trailing badly are not accurate and that the race is still a tossup.
"Ninety-nine percent of the people who were with Donald Trump last Thursday are with him today,” Patrick said. “The reason I believe he's going to win is that the majority of Americans think we need to go in a new direction.”
Dr. Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church in Dallas, whose support for Trump has not wavered despite Trump's comments, also attended the fundraiser.
"I think some people are really struggling with it. And I would no way defend those comments,” the Dallas pastor said. “Those comments were crude. They were lewd. They were offensive, and they're indefensible. But they're not enough to make me want to vote for Hillary Clinton."
Jeffress, who is on Trump’s religious advisory board, tweeted out a picture of their meeting shortly before Trump left Dallas.
"I'm going to pray for him,” he said. “The very last time I was with him about a week and a half ago, the first thing he said is, 'Robert, would you pray for me?' And I put my arm around him and prayed for him. And I think his heart is very, very open."
Throughout the day, Trump took to Twitter to attack Republicans who wouldn’t support him.
He tweeted, “It is so nice that the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to.”
Democrats held a news conference at the Hillary headquarters in Dallas before Trump's arrival while volunteers worked the phones.
Elected Democrats say trump can't and won't be president; predicting huge numbers will turn out to vote against the radical Republican.
"The key thing is to not build walls, it's to build bridges so we can all come together as people and help each other out,” said State Rep. Roberto Alonzo.
"Trump: thank you for making Texas great again,” said State Senator Royce West. “What do I mean by that? We're going to see a voter turnout in Texas that you hadn't seen before."
An avid Trump supporter who was not invited to the fundraiser but it hoping to meet the candidate was Barbara Tomasino, a Plano woman whose collection of Trump dresses always draws a crowd.
"On my bucket list is to meet Donald Trump. I keep trying. I've been to five rallies,” she said. "It's tough to get to the man with the secret service. But I think he would get a charge out of the dress."
Tomasino says she now has five Trump dresses and said she had to remove an image of a cat from one of them due to recent events.