Donald Trump tweets warning to Ricketts family over campaign donations

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Tom Ricketts responds to Trump tweet
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Donald Trump tweeted a warning to the Ricketts family on Monday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Donald Trump tweeted a warning to the Ricketts family on Monday in reaction to news that Marlene Ricketts - the matriarch of the family that owns the Chicago Cubs - is helping pay for ads against Trump in the race for president.

Members of the Ricketts family are long-time contributors to political campaigns, especially supporters of Republican candidates.

"We won with everything - tall people, short people, fat people, skinny people," Trump said.

Coming off of a big win in South Carolina, Donald Trump has once again turned to Twitter to stir the pot - this time with a threat to the Ricketts family. Misspelling their name, Trump writes, "I hear the Rickets (sic) family, who own the Chicago Cubs, are secretly spending $'s against me. They better be careful, they have a lot to hide!"

It appears Trump's tweet was in response to a published report that noted that billionaire Joe Ricketts' wife, Marlene, gave about $3 million to a super PAC that spent money in ads and mailings opposing Trump.

ABC7's Ben Bradley caught up with Chicago Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts on Monday night, saying: "Trump is picking a fight with you."

"I don't know anything about it. I'm not going to talk about that stuff," Ricketts said.

"What do you think about him making the comment you have a lot to hide?" Bradley asked.

"I don't know what that's all about," Ricketts replied.

"I think it is mostly talk. I think he is unhappy with the Ricketts because they are not backing his campaign and they are backing other people," said Dick Simpson, a political science professor at University of Illinois - Chicago.

While he may be mad, throwing out a controversial tweet three weeks before the Illinois primary is classic Trump, Simpson says, because the Trump campaign is built on daily publicity.

"Twitter followers are not enough to elect him, but media coverage of tweets have gone a long way and this is another example. It's a new campaign style," Simpson said.

But, will Trump's Twitter strategy work in Illinois? Former Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady thinks not.

"It does stir it up and he sucks all the oxygen in the room and other candidates can't get out there, but I don't think it's going to work very well here," Brady said.

Illinois' Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner weighed in on the issue Monday, but offered no hints on who he supports in the race.

"The race for president has been a very wild process and I specifically have not commented on any of it," Rauner said.

But after resounding wins in New Hampshire and South Carolina, the Republican Party is facing the possibility that if Trump is triumphant in Nevada and then again on Super Tuesday, he will likely be the nominee. Former Senator Bob Dole is the latest member of the so-called "establishment" lining-up behind Senator Marco Rubio.

"I don't care how much you may think they're funning or how interesting they may sound. If we nominate someone that 40 to 50 percent of our party can't stand, we're going to lose," Rubio said.

Brady is trying to spread the message to Illinois voters that a vote for Trump is a vote for Hillary Clinton. Brady is convinced Trump will not do as well in northern states such as Illinois and Ohio, where he believes Marco Rubio and John Kasich have more support.