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Rochester city officials and Trump campaign in conflict over rally agreement

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President Donald Trump at Duluth rally

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Just hours before the president's event in Rochester, the city and the Trump campaign remain in a dispute about how the event is going to work.

The campaign said it will adhere to state guidelines and the event will be limited to 250 people.

The city of Rochester said as per the agreement signed with the campaign, the event will be invite-only and the campaign needs to provide a guest list at least two hours before people arrive.

On a phone call with KTTC, the campaign defined an invite as people registering for the event ahead of time. After registering online in advance, only the first 250 people who arrive at the airport will be allowed into the event, according to the campaign.

The city said the signed agreement says otherwise, and only invited guests are allowed on the premises.

The campaign is no longer calling this a rally, instead a "MAGA Peaceful Protest." It is blaming Gov. Tim Walz and Attorney General Keith Ellison for the restrictions over where this event will take place and how many people can be there.

The president himself tweeted about this early Friday morning. He said
he was planning for as many as 25,000 people to attend a rally.

The chief operating officer of McNeilus Steel told staff he expected that number of people at the now-canceled event in Dodge Center. The campaign accuses Minnesota's Democratic leaders of stifling free speech with restrictions on the event.

Attorney General Keith Ellison has disputed that, saying his office reached out to the campaign and McNeilus for a COVID-prepardness plan but didn't receive a response.

He said he has no authority to cancel events and has never done so.

"Upon hearing the event was moving to Dodge Center, we asked the Trump campaign, RNC, and McNeilus Steel for a COVID preparedness plan," Ellison told KTTC. "We did not receive a response."

"We did not cancel this event: indeed, we have no authority to cancel events and have never cancelled an event," Ellison said.

Rochester Mayor Kim Norton weighed in as well, saying "we are a healthcare community, we absolutely do not want to spread the virus unnecessarily."

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Byron Tollefson

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