President Donald Trump departed Los Angeles Wednesday en route to St. Louis, Missouri, ending his first trip to California since taking office.
Trump left the Intercontinental Los Angeles Downtown hotel as planned about 8:30 a.m. and, a few minutes later, reached Dodger Stadium. He was then taken by helicopter to Los Angeles International Airport. Air Force One departed as scheduled at 9:10 a.m.
On Tuesday night, the president headlined a Republican National Committee fundraiser near Beverly Hills while hundreds of people protested at a park about four miles away.
Trump arrived at the home of Ed Glazer, whose family owns the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in the exclusive Beverly Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, just outside Beverly Hills, at 4:22 p.m. and left at 8:25 p.m.
Tickets for the fundraiser ranged from $35,000 just for the dinner up to $250,000 for the chance to meet Trump, attend a roundtable discussion and have a photo taken with him, according an invitation obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
The fundraiser was hosted by RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, national finance chairman Todd Ricketts, whose family owns the Chicago Cubs, and deputy national finance chairman Elliott Broidy, The Times reported.
Like many fundraisers for both parties where a president is in attendance, it was closed to reporters.
A motorcade took Trump to the Intercontinental Los Angeles Downtown, arriving at 9 p.m. Streets around the hotel were closed. A crowd of around 100 people gathered about a block away.
Anti-Trump protesters gathered Tuesday afternoon at Beverly Gardens Park at 9439 Santa Monica Blvd. Organizers said they wanted to express “Southern California’s opposition to the attacks on civil liberties launched by the Trump Administration.”
Trump supporters, meanwhile, gathered just a few blocks away at the corner of Santa Monica and Wilshire boulevards. There were some confrontations in the park between critics and supporters of Trump.
Air Force One landed at Los Angeles International Airport at about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday. Before leaving the nation’s capital, Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, replacing him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
Trump was greeted at LAX by Shawn Steel, a member of the Republican National Committee, his wife, Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel, and Andy Gharakhani, the executive director of the Los Angeles Chapter of New Majority, a political action committee which describes itself as promoting a fiscally responsible philosophy in government and an inclusive mainstream approach toward politics.
Trump then boarded a helicopter which took him to Santa Monica Airport. He was then driven in a motorcade with a few scattered protesters on surface streets holding handmade signs like “Trump is a Turd” and “Kindness Matters” before taking the Santa Monica (10) and San Diego (405) freeways to Glazer’s home.
During Trump’s visit, the Los Angeles Police Department closed several downtown streets, warning motorists to stay away from the area. Traffic was getting back to normal in the area by late Wednesday morning.
Trump began his first post-inauguration California visit at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, when he arrived at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego County. He then took a helicopter to Otay Mesa to view eight 30-foot-tall border wall prototypes that have been erected there.
He hailed the prototypes and said he prefers versions that allow law enforcement to see through them into Mexico so they can monitor activity on the other side. He touted his proposed wall as critical to national security.
After his tour, Trump returned to Air Station Miramar, where he spoke to members of the military, promising pay raises and modernized equipment for troops, and floating the idea of creating a “Space Force” military branch.
—City News Service