Protest Likely to Greet Trump in CA 09/17 06:07
President Donald Trump is making a rare visit to California, a Democratic
stronghold where he is expected to rake in millions of dollars during a series
of fundraisers for his reelection effort that are almost certain to be met with
RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) -- President Donald Trump is making a rare visit to
California, a Democratic stronghold where he is expected to rake in millions of
dollars during a series of fundraisers for his reelection effort that are
almost certain to be met with jeering protests.
Trump has routinely mocked California over its liberal culture, policies and
politics. His visit Tuesday and Wednesday signals that despite the state's
decidedly leftward swing in recent years there are still plenty of wealthy
Republicans who support him.
"There's not been a president in living history that is as unpopular in the
state of California as Trump," said Mike Madrid, a GOP political consultant who
is an outspoken Trump critic. "But our money spends the same as everyone
Trump continues to rake in gobs of cash more than a year out from the
November 2020 contest, with his campaign and the Republican National Committee
pulling in more than $210 million since the start of 2019, Federal Election
Commission records show. That's more than all the current Democrats seeking to
replace him raised combined during that period.
The California events, which will be spread across two days in in the Bay
Area, Los Angeles and San Diego, are expected to bring in an additional $15
million, according to a Republican official familiar with the plans who spoke
on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters.
California was an incubator for the modern conservative movement that swept
the state's former Gov. Ronald Reagan into the White House in 1980. But
demographic changes and an influx of new residents have helped drastically
rework the political contours of the country's most populated state, with the
former GOP stronghold of Orange County now home to more registered Democrats
than Republicans. For Republicans, who have been resigned to political
irrelevance at the state level, a donation to Trump can amount to its own form
"By showing up to a fundraiser deep in the belly of the beast, one is
saying: 'I don't care what the liberal politicians are saying and I want to
show my support for him publicly,'" said California's Republican National
Committeewoman Harmeet Dhillon, who is an ardent Trump supporter. She added: "I
sold $100,000 worth of (tickets), and I could have sold another $100,000 more."
California has long been a key fundraising hotbed for politicians of both
parties, which have relied on the entertainment industry and wealthy industry
heads to finance their political ambitions. But under Trump, the
run-of-the-mill fundraising trip has taken on a complicating dimension due to
his harsh criticism of everything from the state's immigration laws to its
forest management practices, which he blamed for fatal wildfires.
Earlier this month Trump lashed out at "Will and Grace" TV star Debra
Messing after she tweeted that attendees of the Trump's California fundraisers
should be outed publicly.
"I have not forgotten that when it was announced that I was going to do The
Apprentice, and when it then became a big hit, helping NBC's failed lineup
greatly, @DebraMessing came up to me at an Upfront & profusely thanked me,
even calling me "Sir." How times have changed!" Trump tweeted.
In August, he took aim at the state's massive film industry, calling
Hollywood "very dangerous for our country."
"Hollywood is really terrible. You talk about racist --- Hollywood is
racist," he said.
That's contributed to heightened security concerns surrounding the trip.
Trump has also complained about the extent of homelessness in California.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is expected to follow Trump
to California, if one day behind him, on visits to San Francisco, Los Angeles
and San Diego. A senior HUD official said Carson will speak on a range of
issues, including increasing the supply of affordable housing and incentivizing
investment in distressed communities while protecting vulnerable neighbors.
Already, the Backbone Campaign, a Washington state-based progressive group,
said on Facebook that it planned to fly a large "Baby Trump" balloon in the Bay
Area when Trump is scheduled to be there on Tuesday.
In an unusual move, Trump campaign officials --- not his top donors --- have
been listed as sponsors of the event.
Dhillon said there were concerns that Antifa, an anti-fascist group, could
stir violent protests.
"For every person coming to this event, there would probably be 10 more,"
Trump began his three-day trip to the West at a rally in New Mexico, which
he hopes to win next year despite losing by about 8 percentage points in 2016.
Trump referred to California a couple of times in his speech, and not in a
The president noted that his administration is at odds with the state over
fuel efficiency standards for automobiles. He long has made clear he wants to
end California's clout in setting mileage standards, and Monday night he said
he wants heavier cars because they're safer and cheaper, even if they are less
"California wants you to do the other cars and we don't," Trump said. "We
will end up in big litigation and I am fighting for you," he told the crowd.
He also joked about moving part of the border wall in San Diego to where it
would be more appreciated.
"I would love to take that sucker down and move it right now to New Mexico,"
he said to rousing cheers.