Theo Epstein Says He’s OK With Trump Fundraiser at Wrigley Field
Theo Epstein, the Cubs‘ president of baseball operations, gave a very diplomatic answer Friday when asked his thoughts on members of the Ricketts family’s use of Wrigley Field as part of donor retreat for President Donald Trump‘s re-election campaign.
“I mean, it’s a venue, right? It’s a private venue and people have the right to host events here, especially the owners,” Epstein said in a radio interview on 670 AM The Score.
The event in question was a reception at Wrigley Field, followed by the Cubs game that evening, as part of a three-day Trump Victory Committee retreat for major donors in Chicago over the past weekend.
The Trump Victory Committee is a joint fundraising committee for the president’s campaign organization and the Republican National Committee. Todd Ricketts, part-owner of the Cubs and RNC finance chair, was listed as one of the hosts of the event, according to a guest memo – that listed him as the Trump Victory Committee finance chair – obtained by Axios last week.
The agenda listed Trump’s acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Todd Ricketts’ brother Pete Ricketts, current governor of Nebraska and Cubs co-owner, as special guests slated to speak throughout the weekend.
Epstein has long been supportive of candidates in the Democratic Party, cutting a check to Trump‘s general election opponent Hillary Clinton in 2016. Todd and Pete Ricketts’ sister Laura Ricketts, another part-owner of the Cubs, is also a prominent Democratic donor.
But Epstein said he put his own political leanings aside when it came to Saturday’s event at Wrigley Field.
“I’ve hosted events here too on the other side of the political spectrum so you know, it’s a free society, private venue and I don’t think anyone intends any disrespect,” Epstein continued. “This is a venue that is attractive to a lot of groups and as long as it’s equal opportunity on all sides, I don’t think there’s a tremendous argument against it.”
“Leaving my political leanings out of it, I’ll just say I know for a fact that this venue has hosted groups from both sides of the political spectrum and probably will continue to do so going forward. This one’s getting publicity but it’s really not something I give a lot of thought to, as long as I know it’s balanced on both sides, that’s all you can ask for,” he added.
The Cubs-owning Ricketts family made headlines for their political views in February when Splinter News published a trove of patriarch and TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts’ emails containing conspiracy theories and racist jokes, among other incendiary statements.
Joe Ricketts apologized at the time, as did his son and Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts, who said, “our family was never raised that way. I’ve never heard my father say anything remotely racist.”