SAN DIEGO -- Demonstrators both in support and protest of President Donald Trump's visit to San Diego arrived downtown Wednesday long before Air Force One touched down at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.
The president planned the visit as part of a West Coast fundraising swing that included earlier stops in Palo Alto, Los Angeles and Beverly Hills.
Police had placed barricades along the street by 5 a.m. Wednesday, and police warned residents and commuters to expect delays in a roughly 5-block radius around Horton Plaza and the U.S. Grant Hotel, where Trump would attend a fundraising luncheon before heading for a border visit in Otay Mesa.
A giant balloon depicting President Donald Trump as a baby — a now-familiar protest symbol at presidential visits to the border and abroad — was flown by the group Backbone Campaign at a protest in Horton Plaza.
"We want to make it clear that Trump and his tantrums, disgusting disrespect for people who don't agree with him and frequent lies are not welcome in California or San Diego," the organization said in a news release.
First appearing during widespread protests of Trump’s visit to London last year, "Baby Trump" balloons are available online and have since been seen during the president’s visit to Calexico and a 4th of July Parade in Washington D.C.
Supporters welcoming the president could also be seen lining up downtown ahead of Trump's visit, primarily congregating on Third Avenue.
The San Diego County GOP said the president would be welcomed to the city. "There is a lot more support for our great president here than angry Democrats will have people believe," Chairman Tony Krvaric said in a statement.
“Throughout the campaign, President Trump promised a safer and more secure border," said Republican National Committee Spokesperson Christiana Purves. "During President Trump’s time in office, he has delivered on that promise and today’s visit showcases his dedication to a secure America and the decline of crime and drugs flowing into our country.”