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Trump planning to spend part of RNC week in Chicago — instead of Milwaukee

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(WASHINGTON) — Former President Donald Trump is making plans to spend part of the week of the Republican National Convention in Chicago — more than an hour’s drive from where the convention itself will be taking place in Milwaukee, according to sources familiar with his plans.

Trump is expected to visit Chicago to attend a fundraiser, though details are still being finalized. A campaign official tells ABC News the former president will stay in Milwaukee to accept the Republican nomination on Thursday evening.

At one point, several officials briefed on security plans and logistical arrangements indicated Trump would likely stay overnight at his property in Chicago — Trump International Hotel and Tower — during the duration of the RNC.

After reporters — including those from ABC News, ABC affiliate WLS in Chicago, and The New York Times — reached out to the campaign to confirm logistics, Trump campaign national press secretary Karoline Leavitt issued a statement saying, “President Trump is staying in Milwaukee.”

Trump held a campaign event in Racine, Wisconsin, on Tuesday — 30 miles south of Milwaukee — where he touched on inflation and immigration.

During his remarks, Trump said “I love Milwaukee” — a reference to that the former president allegedly called Milwaukee a “horrible city” during a closed door meeting with congressional Republicans last Thursday.

“I was the one that picked Milwaukee, I have to tell you, I was the one that picked it [for the RNC],” Trump said during his rally. “These lying people that they say, ‘oh, he doesn’t like Milwaukee.’ I love Milwaukee.”

The appearance marks Trump’s third visit to the midwestern battleground state as he tries to draw contrast with President Joe Biden.

His decision to stay in Chicago, based on personal preference, comes after his reported comments disparaging Milwaukee. Trump’s campaign disputed the characterization of his comments, and Democrats persistently amplified his words — including through a new billboard campaign in the city.

Trump’s campaign spokesperson punched back on the reports, arguing that Trump’s words were taken out of context.

“He was talking about how terrible crime and voter fraud are,” said campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung.

In another statement, the campaign wrote that it was a “total lie” that Trump called Milwaukee a “horrible city.” However, they went on to add, “President Trump was explicitly referring to the problems in Milwaukee, specifically violent crime and voter fraud,” suggesting he did make comments about the city, just not in the way some were interpreting it.

Biden’s campaign and other Democrats are capitalizing off Trump’s comments criticizing the host state.

ABC News’s Lalee Ibssa and Soorin Kim contributed to this report.

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