SAN DIEGO — President Donald Trump attended a fundraising luncheon in San Diego Wednesday in support of his 2020 re-election campaign before traveling to view a section of border wall.
Trump’s visit was part of a West Coast fundraising swing to Palo Alto, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles and San Diego. The San Diego fundraiser, held at the U.S. Grant Hotel, was expected to generate roughly $4 million for the campaign, while the trip as a whole was estimated to raise upwards of $15 million for the Trump Victory Fund, a joint committee of the Republican National Committee and the campaign.
Trump landed at U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Miramar shortly after 11:30 a.m. and met with members of the Marine Corps, Chabad of Poway Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein and Poway Mayor Steve Vaus, who gave him a “Mayor’s Medallion,” which Vaus gives to city employees and local residents to honor them for their service to the community.
Trump was accompanied at Miramar by hostage negotiator Robert O’Brien, whom he named his new national security adviser Wednesday morning.
Trump arrived at the U.S. Grant just before 1 p.m., but was not spotted by the public as he left his motorcade, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. At nearby Horton Plaza, crowds of both protesters and supporters held signs and remained mostly peaceful despite some taunting between the two sides.
Supporters at the plaza celebrated Trump’s arrival by chanting “Trump 2020” and calling for another four-year term. On Tuesday, county Republican Party Chair Tony Krvaric suggested in a statement that local opposition to Trump is understated.
“We are excited to have President Trump in San Diego on Wednesday for a sold-out fundraiser to keep America great,” he wrote in a Twitter post. “There is a lot more support for our great president here than angry Democrats will have people believe.”
The visit came on the same day Trump announced he will revoke California’s federal waiver to set its own standards of vehicle emissions, arguing it will lead to marginal differences in emissions and lower costs.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday the White House has “abdicated its responsibility” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change. On Wednesday, county Supervisor Nathan Fletcher concurred.
“A petty and petulant president is not only attacking California environmental standards, but the auto manufacturing industry that supports our efforts,” Fletcher said. “This is all a Trump-driven effort to increase greenhouse gas emission, gasoline consumption and air pollution — it makes no sense.”
Trump visited Palo Alto and Beverly Hills Tuesday, taking time to rail against liberal bastions in a solidly blue state.
“We can’t let Los Angeles, San Francisco and numerous other cities destroy themselves by allowing what’s happening,” he said aboard Air Force One in a reference to homelessness. He also suggested that the number of homeless residents in major cities is prompting some residents and business owners in those cities to move out of the country.
Around 2:15 p.m., Trump’s motorcade left downtown San Diego heading to Otay Mesa for the border wall visit. The visit was Trump’s first to the border in California since April, when he visited a section of the barrier in Calexico. Trump last visited the border in San Diego last year.
In response, San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium Chair Lillian Serrano called the border visit “political opportunism at its worst.”
“To have the president of the United States come to our border town to raise money so that he can further desecrate our way of life is an insult to our communities and to the asylum families in need that he has funneled into the private detention facility in Otay Mesa,” Serrano said in a statement.
At the border, Trump discussed plans to build new stretches of his oft- referenced wall along the border and praised the city of San Diego for the way it handles homelessness, taking the opportunity to chide Los Angeles and San Francisco again for the size of its homeless population.
“In the case of San Diego, the mayor’s doing the right thing, he’s doing a good job,” Trump said. “In the case of Los Angeles, it’s a disaster. If you look at San Francisco, it’s a total disaster what’s happening. They’re going to ruin those cities.”
A December 2018 report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development found that San Diego County had the fourth most homeless residents of any metro area in the United States, trailing Seattle/King County in Washington, Los Angeles County and New York City.
Just after 5 p.m., Trump departed San Diego for Washington, D.C., aboard Air Force One.