President Donald Trump wrapped up a roughly 19-hour visit to the Los Angeles area Wednesday, attending a fundraising breakfast before departing on Air Force One bound for San Diego.
No details were immediately released about the morning fundraiser, which is believed to have been held at or near the InterContinental Los Angeles hotel downtown, where Trump spent the night.
The president was on the move from the hotel shortly after 10 a.m. and eventually boarded a helicopter to Los Angeles International Airport, where he briefly spoke to a group of reporters before boarding Air Force One.
The fundraising swing marked a rare visit to the Los Angeles area for the Republican president who has long been at odds with California’s Democratic leadership. While flying to California Tuesday, he reiterated to reporters aboard Air Force one that he may take a more active role in combating the homelessness problem in the Southland and around the state.
“We can’t let Los Angeles, San Francisco and numerous other cities destroy themselves by allowing what’s happening,” Trump said.
“… We have people living in our … best highways, our best streets, our best entrances to buildings … where people in those buildings pay tremendous taxes, where they went to those locations because of the prestige. In many cases they (building tenants) came from other countries and they moved to Los Angeles or they moved to San Francisco because of the prestige of the city, and all of a sudden they have tents. Hundreds and hundreds of tents and people living at the entrance to their office building. And they want to leave.
“And the people of San Francisco are fed up, and the people of Los Angeles are fed up,” he said. “And we’re looking at it, and we’ll be doing something about it.”
Last week, Trump sent administration officials to the Los Angeles area to examine the local response to the homelessness crisis, something he has criticized as being the result of liberal political policies. He told reporters Tuesday he was looking “very seriously” at creating some type of “individual task force” to address the homelessness issue.
Mayor Eric Garcetti said last week he took the group on a tour of the city’s Unified Homelessness Response Center, a pair of homeless shelters and the Jordan Downs public housing complex.
Garcetti sent a letter to Trump following the delegation’s visit, saying he welcomes assistance from the federal government but that politics need to be set aside. He reiterated that sentiment Tuesday morning, issuing a video statement online.
“It’s no secret that I’ve disagreed with you on almost everything, Mr. President,” Garcetti said. “But if you are in your heart willing to save lives alongside us, we know what works here.”
Garcetti said billions of federal dollars that could have created 47,000 permanent supportive units in Los Angeles were cut in the last couple years. Speaking from a recently opened Bridge Housing facility in South Los Angeles, Garcetti said he wanted to talk to Trump and show him what is being done locally to combat the problem. But the two men did not meet during Trump’s visit.
“… I wanted to talk to (Trump) a little bit as if he had come down here to South L.A. to understand and to hear the challenges we face and ways that Washington, D.C., instead of demonizing us, might be able to come and help us,” Garcetti said
Trump arrived in Los Angeles shortly after 4 p.m. Tuesday and was greeted on the tarmac by Yorba Linda’s 26-year-old Mayor Tara Campbell, state Senate Minority Leader Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, and Shawn Steele, a Republican National Committeeman. Trump also greeted a group of cheering supporters, shaking hands and posing for photos, before boarding a helicopter.
Trump did not make any public appearances during his third visit to Los Angeles County as president. He participated in a roundtable discussion with supporters and spoke at a dinner fundraiser Tuesday at the Beverly Hills home of real estate developer Geoffrey Palmer, a major Trump and Republican Party donor.
Like many fundraisers for presidents of both parties, the event was closed to the news media.
“It was absolutely awesome. People are ready and committed to working very hard for his reelection,” Celeste Greig, a longtime Republican activist who attended the dinner, told the Los Angeles Times.
Greig, a former president of the California Republican Assembly, a volunteer group, said Trump spoke about his efforts to end child trafficking, stop illegal immigration, create stronger trade relations and take on the crop of Democratic candidates competing to replace him.
“We will never be a socialist country,” Trump said, according to Greig.
The president was joined at the event by Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel, son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, son Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend, former Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle, who is Gov. Gavin Newsom’s ex-wife.
Donors, who were not told the exact location of the fundraiser, checked in at the Beverly Hills Hotel, where they showed their credentials before being whisked to Palmer’s mansion in shuttles. Actor and Trump critic Tom Arnold was at the hotel trolling Trump supporters as they arrived, Greig told The Times.
Tickets ranged in cost from $1,000 for individuals to $100,000 for couples who wanted to attend a VIP reception, roundtable discussion with the president and a photo opportunity, according to CNBC.
A Republican official told reporters in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where Trump began the day Tuesday, that the event would raise $5 million. Wednesday’s breakfast in Los Angeles was expected to raise $3 million, the official said.
Trump was expected to raise $3 million at a private lunch he attended in Portola Valley in San Mateo County Tuesday before coming to Los Angeles. A Wednesday luncheon in San Diego is expected to raise $4 million, according to the Republican official.
Refuse Fascism, which seeks to remove what it calls the “Trump/Pence regime” from power, held a protest at the corner of Benedict Canyon Drive and Sunset Boulevard in Beverly Hills Tuesday.
At the Beverly Hills protest, members of The Revolution Club Los Angeles, an anti-Trump group, attempted to burn an American flag near the Beverly Hills Hotel, when a Trump supporter ran in and grabbed the flag, sparking a fight between a Revolution Club member and a Trump supporter, according to club member Michelle Xai.
Police in riot gear moved in to separate the groups, KCAL9 reported.
The Trump supporter was briefly detained by police and released and the Revolution Club member was arrested and released from custody about 11:30 p.m., Xai said.
The Revolution Club Los Angeles describes itself online as “Guided by the New Communism forged by Bob Avakian.” Avakian is the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA.
With California considered a major Democrat stronghold, Trump visits to the state are rare. He attended a Beverly Hills fundraiser and had a private dinner at his Rancho Palos Verdes golf club on April 5 — a visit that lasted about six hours.
In November, Trump toured areas of Ventura and Los Angeles counties damaged by the Woolsey Fire. He attended another Beverly Hills fundraiser in March 2018.