It is not a secret that President Donald Trump is not very popular among California citizens. California, a Democratic state, and the Republican President often seem to be on opposite sides of issues such as immigration laws and gun control. Trump and the people of California have not gotten a chance to be face to face in nearly two years. This all changed on Tuesday, March 13th, when Trump paid his first visit to California as President of the United States.
While this trip only lasted a swift 22 hours, a great deal was accomplished. For the entirety of his visit, Trump stayed in Southern California, specifically in San Diego and Los Angeles. Shortly after arriving near the Mexican border in San Diego, Trump began his day by meeting with senior Border Patrol officials while viewing the prototypes of the wall he promised in his presidential campaign. These walls are all at least seven feet tall, with some being clear and others having metal bars. The cost of these border walls is up in the billions, with one estimated at 100 billion dollars. Although the President has not yet secured the money needed for this wall, he recently defended the high price with the statement, “It [the border wall] will save thousands and thousands of lives, save taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars by reducing crime, drug flow, welfare fraud and burdens on schools and hospitals…” Trump continued this by saying, “The wall will save hundreds of billions of dollars- many, many times what it’s going to cost.”
From the location of the border prototypes, the President went onto travel to the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. Here, he spoke with the members of the military base for about one hour. For his last event in California, the President flew from San Diego to Beverly Hills to attend a Republican fundraiser. Approximately 90 guests were present at this gathering, with all of them paying from 35,000 to 250,000 dollars to be there. The event was kept fairly private at Edward Glazer’s, the co-chairman of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, home in Beverly Park. The profits of this successful fundraiser came to the total of five million dollars. The President promptly woke up the next morning to fly out of Los Angeles to St. Louis, Missouri.
Throughout the entirety of Trump’s visit to California, he did not meet with any political leaders of the state, nor did he converse with any of the average citizens, including protesters the President came across. The protests that occurred over the duration of Trump’s travels were expected, yet there were no permits issued for large protests. The central theme of these protests was the wall and immigration laws, like DACA. Many parts of Southern California were covered with signs and banners with messages like, “Our CA Values Trump Hate” and “The people united will never be divided.” One protest was a press conference at Chicano Park, focused on the border wall, which was hosted by activists, along with a few church leaders and political leaders. Another protest that took place that day was on the other side of the border, in Mexico. This protest was led by veterans of the United States Military who were deported and want to obtain legal status in order to live in the USA again. Hector Lopez, one of the veterans there, commented that, “We just want a few minutes with the president. He’s our commander-in-chief…” At a different protest in the center of Beverly Hills, the President pro tempore of the California State Senate, Kevin de León, was in attendance and voiced his opinion on Trump’s visit to California. De León said in a statement directed at the President, “Don’t just visit Beverly Hills or your little wall prototypes. Take the time to see and learn about the greatest state in the nation…” He continued this by saying that he would like to show Trump the ethnic areas of Los Angeles, including his favorite place to get tacos, “to see if [Trump] can handle the heat… Because whether you like it or not, California is the future of America.”
A great deal of the political leaders of California were present at the protests that were sparked because of Trump’s recent trip to this state. This came as no surprise to many, seeing that the President and the citizens of California have not been able to agree on certain issues. Trump has expressed his concern over the state of California many times, such as in his weekly radio address. During this address, Trump commented on California’s policies on immigration with the statement, “Every state in our Union is subject to the laws and Constitution of the United States- including California. Yet California’s leaders are in open defiance of federal law… They don’t care about crime. They don’t care about death and killings. They don’t care about robberies. They don’t care about the kind of things that you and I care about.” The President also specifically insulted the Governor of California, Jerry Brown, when he said that Governor Brown, “…does a very poor job running California…” Trump continued this statement by calling California, “… totally out of control.” These jabs at California have not resulted in lawmakers making changes on their immigration laws, yet have only further fueled protests on the President. Lily Skelson, a sophomore at SLV, shared her thoughts on President Trump’s short visit to California, predominantly questioning Trump’s use of the time spent here. While at first Lily was not familiar with the Trump’s recent travels, she quickly caught up to speed on the topic. When informed that the first thing the President did in his trip was view the border wall prototypes, Lily wanted to make it clear that she did not support the wall. She backed this up with the comment, “I don’t support the wall because there are families starving in Mexico and living in bad conditions. They just want to come to the USA to be free and live happy lives. They’re not all criminals like Trump makes them out to be.” In response to the protests by US veterans on the Mexican side of the border, Lily stated that deporting these people is, “…wrong because why would he [Trump] want to deport someone who served for our country?” Lily expressed her opinion on the few events Trump attended in California with the remark, “It’s important that Trump went to his fundraiser, but there were better things he could have done with his time here. He also could have stayed in California longer to have meetings with politicians.” Like many, Lily found it odd how long it took the President to visit such a large and important state and how brief Trump’s trip was. The feeling among many is dissatisfaction as Trump’s highly anticipated visit did not result in the change or discussion that most citizens of California wanted from the President.