President Donald Trump traveled to the Coachella Valley Wednesday to attend fundraising events at the private estate of Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison in Rancho Mirage.
Air Force One touched down at about 10:40 a.m. at Palm Springs International Airport, roughly 45 minutes behind schedule. Trump made a brief appearance at a breakfast fundraiser in Las Vegas Wednesday morning before departing for California.
A group of supporters cheered as Trump emerged from Air Force One. Trump waved and then walked over to the group, shaking hands and posing for photos as the crowd broke into chants of “Four more years!”
To accommodate the presidential motorcade out of the airport, police closed Kirk Douglas Way between South El Cielo and East Ramon roads “until further notice.” Police urged people trying to reach Palm Springs International Airport to use the main entrance on East Tahquitz Canyon Drive.
Protesters and Trump supporters were scheduled to hold dueling rallies throughout the valley during the president’s brief visit.
Joy Miedecke, president of East Valley Republican Women Federated, said several hundred locals stood along roads adjacent to the airport “hoping to catch a glimpse of him.”
The group also plans to catch Trump’s exit by gathering from noon to 2 p.m. at Indian Trail and Highway 111, where “police will have it marked off for Trump supporters,” according to the group. From 2 to 4 p.m., a “flag rally” at the corner of Washington Street and Highway 111 in La Quinta is also being organized by local Republicans.
The fundraiser at Ellison’s nearly 250-acre private estate will consist of Trump taking part in a roundtable discussion with supporters then speaking at a luncheon before returning to the airport and flying to Bakersfield. Attendees will also be able to play a round of golf at the estate.
At least three anti-Trump protests are also planned in Rancho Mirage in conjunction with Trump’s visit.
A group calling itself Courageous Resistance plans to gather near the entrance of Porcupine Creek on Tangier Road hoping to get within earshot of the motorcade starting at 11:30 a.m.
Coachella Valley United also plans to rally against the president at the corner of Highway 111 and Bob Hope Drive at 2 p.m. East Valley Republican Women Federated originally planned its own gathering at the corner as well, but that was canceled at the request of police, according to the group’s Facebook page.
Residents scheduled a third protest called the “Trump UnWelcome Rally,” was planned Wednesday morning at Dunes View and Sahara roads in Rancho Mirage.
Republican National Committee chairs Ronna McDaniel and Tommy Hicks Jr., national finance chairman Todd Ricketts and Trump reelection campaign manager Brad Parscale are among those expected to attend the fundraising event at Ellison’s estate.
According to an invitation to the event, first obtained by The Desert Sun, a $250,000 contribution will pay for a roundtable, photo opportunity with the president and golf outing for two. A $100,000 contribution includes a photo opportunity and golf outing, according to the invitation.
Democratic National Committee spokesman John Weber issued a statement calling Trump’s Southern California fundraising swing “shameful.”
“Just after proposing devastating cuts to California families’ Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, Donald Trump is spending time with the only Californians he’s ever cared about: ultra-wealthy donors,” Weber said.
“Californians deserve a president who prioritizes the needs of working families over the demands of a few powerful special interests, and this November, we’ll send one to the White House.”
Trump is scheduled to depart from Palm Springs International Airport early Wednesday afternoon aboard Air Force One, bound for Bakersfield, where he will speak to Rural Stakeholders on California Water Accessibility. Trump is also scheduled to speak at a campaign rally Wednesday evening in Phoenix.
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