SAN DIEGO – Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump spoke for just over an hour Friday to thousands of adoring supporters at the San Diego Convention Center Friday during his first campaign visit to San Diego.
The billionaire candidate flew into Lindbergh Field from a Friday morning campaign event in Fresno. His private jet landed at about 1:30 p.m., and the candidate drove from the airport to the Convention Center in a motorcade that was escorted by the Secret Service. The California Highway Patrol stopped traffic on Interstate 5 briefly to allow the motorcade free passage.
Trump supporters began lining up outside the Convention Center before sunrise and they were let inside at around 11 a.m. Before Trump arrived, former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin spoke to the crowd.
Trump, who was scheduled to speak at 2 p.m., took the stage about 30 minutes late. He spoke for about 70 minutes, concentrating much of his unscripted speech on character attacks on Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton. He did not mention any specific proposals, but he repeated his promise to make America great again, to protect Medicare and Social Security, to build a wall along the Mexican border and to “knock the hell out of ISIS.”
“We don’t win anymore as a country. We don’t win with our military, with education, with trade, with anything,” Trump told the crowd. “And I say this, and I have fun saying it, and I love saying it, and we can’t do it any better: We are going to winning again big league.”
Numerous opposition groups, from organized labor to immigration advocates, marched to the Convention Center and demonstrated outside. A few small scuffles broke out, but there were no major disturbances.
Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman told reporters that, as of noon, no arrests had been made. Earlier, she vowed that law enforcement will tolerate no violence, disruptive behavior or unlawful acts at the Trump event.
“The safety of our public is paramount,” Zimmerman said. “The whole goal is to provide a safe environment for everyone.”
The city designated demonstration zones — one for Trump supporters and another for those who oppose the 69-year-old billionaire’s presidential bid — on the northwest and southeast sides of the Harbor Drive center and will strictly monitor attendees’ behavior while ensuring their constitutional free- speech rights, Zimmerman said.
In the protest area, Martha McPhail of La Mesa held a “Dump Trump” sign.
“I am opposed to the hateful, bigoted, racist language of Donald Trump and his arrogance and intolerance,” McPhail told City News Service. “I’m for all of our people — all races, sexes, genders, military veterans — and he’s divisive.”
Bryan Sanders, a Tucson resident, said he came to San Diego because Trump needs to be stopped.
“Donald Trump is a fascist,” said Sanders, 33. “He has no business being in American politics. He’s un-American. His march toward power needs to stop, and it’s gonna.”