Downtown alderman: 'We were ready' for Trump to stay in Chicago for RNC

Downtown 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins said the city was preparing for former President Donald Trump to stay at his namesake hotel and tower in River North during the Republican National Convention, confirming previous reports.

The Trump campaign has denied those reports and said that Trump would indeed be staying in Milwaukee before planning to accept the Republican nomination for President on July 18 in Milwaukee, a city he reportedly called "horrible" in private remarks to Republicans.

Hopkins said the campaign had reached out to local law enforcement and the U.S. Secret Service with explicit plans for Trump to stay for at least one night at his tower, and possibly commute to Milwaukee by helicopter.

"They were not just thinking about spending the night at Trump Tower, they were planning to," Hopkins said. "We were taking all the necessary security steps we were asked to do to make sure the facility was secure, to make sure there were contained protests to block Wabash Street if that happened, so we were ready for it."

According to The New York Times, the Trump campaign changed course after an initial report from ABC 7 Chicago led reporters to reach out to confirm.

"The campaign staff had to go into damage control mode and deny that they ever planned to stay in Chicago," Hopkins said.

Hopkins’ remarks come as the Secret Service, along with Milwaukee law enforcement officials, unveiled the security perimeter around Fiserv Forum for the event. A detailed map released by the Secret Service shows a hard perimeter around the arena where only credentialed guests will be allowed, as well as a soft perimeter at roughly a 2-3 block radius where vehicles will be searched at one of five checkpoints. A protest zone will be located a block northeast of the arena.

The plans could foreshadow what Chicago’s security plan would be around the United Center for the Democratic National Convention in August, where protesters have sued to be within sight and sound of the arena to express their First Amendment rights. One major difference between the two cities: Wisconsin is an open carry state, and law enforcement officials say they will be on the lookout for any suspicious behavior involving weapons.

"Understand that there is gonna be that level of surveillance and monitoring if that’s the particular right you like to express," said Milwaukee Chief of Police Jeffrey Norman. "Just don’t do anything that could be considered a threat of harm to the public."