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Protest Likely to Greet Trump in CA    09/17 06:07

   President Donald Trump is making a rare visit to California, a Democratic 
stronghold where he is expected to rake in millions of dollars during a series 
of fundraisers for his reelection effort that are almost certain to be met with 
jeering protests.

   RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) -- President Donald Trump is making a rare visit to 
California, a Democratic stronghold where he is expected to rake in millions of 
dollars during a series of fundraisers for his reelection effort that are 
almost certain to be met with jeering protests.

   Trump has routinely mocked California over its liberal culture, policies and 
politics. His visit Tuesday and Wednesday signals that despite the state's 
decidedly leftward swing in recent years there are still plenty of wealthy 
Republicans who support him.

   "There's not been a president in living history that is as unpopular in the 
state of California as Trump," said Mike Madrid, a GOP political consultant who 
is an outspoken Trump critic. "But our money spends the same as everyone 
else's."

   Trump continues to rake in gobs of cash more than a year out from the 
November 2020 contest, with his campaign and the Republican National Committee 
pulling in more than $210 million since the start of 2019, Federal Election 
Commission records show. That's more than all the current Democrats seeking to 
replace him raised combined during that period.

   The California events, which will be spread across two days in in the Bay 
Area, Los Angeles and San Diego, are expected to bring in an additional $15 
million, according to a Republican official familiar with the plans who spoke 
on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters.

   California was an incubator for the modern conservative movement that swept 
the state's former Gov. Ronald Reagan into the White House in 1980. But 
demographic changes and an influx of new residents have helped drastically 
rework the political contours of the country's most populated state, with the 
former GOP stronghold of Orange County now home to more registered Democrats 
than Republicans. For Republicans, who have been resigned to political 
irrelevance at the state level, a donation to Trump can amount to its own form 
of protest.

   "By showing up to a fundraiser deep in the belly of the beast, one is 
saying: 'I don't care what the liberal politicians are saying and I want to 
show my support for him publicly,'" said California's Republican National 
Committeewoman Harmeet Dhillon, who is an ardent Trump supporter. She added: "I 
sold $100,000 worth of (tickets), and I could have sold another $100,000 more."

   California has long been a key fundraising hotbed for politicians of both 
parties, which have relied on the entertainment industry and wealthy industry 
heads to finance their political ambitions. But under Trump, the 
run-of-the-mill fundraising trip has taken on a complicating dimension due to 
his harsh criticism of everything from the state's immigration laws to its 
forest management practices, which he blamed for fatal wildfires.

   Earlier this month Trump lashed out at "Will and Grace" TV star Debra 
Messing after she tweeted that attendees of the Trump's California fundraisers 
should be outed publicly.

   "I have not forgotten that when it was announced that I was going to do The 
Apprentice, and when it then became a big hit, helping NBC's failed lineup 
greatly, @DebraMessing  came up to me at an Upfront & profusely thanked me, 
even calling me "Sir." How times have changed!" Trump tweeted.

   In August, he took aim at the state's massive film industry, calling 
Hollywood "very dangerous for our country."

   "Hollywood is really terrible. You talk about racist --- Hollywood is 
racist," he said.

   That's contributed to heightened security concerns surrounding the trip.

   Trump has also complained about the extent of homelessness in California. 
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is expected to follow Trump 
to California, if one day behind him, on visits to San Francisco, Los Angeles 
and San Diego. A senior HUD official said Carson will speak on a range of 
issues, including increasing the supply of affordable housing and incentivizing 
investment in distressed communities while protecting vulnerable neighbors.

   Already, the Backbone Campaign, a Washington state-based progressive group, 
said on Facebook that it planned to fly a large "Baby Trump" balloon in the Bay 
Area when Trump is scheduled to be there on Tuesday.

   In an unusual move, Trump campaign officials --- not his top donors --- have 
been listed as sponsors of the event.

   Dhillon said there were concerns that Antifa, an anti-fascist group, could 
stir violent protests.

   "For every person coming to this event, there would probably be 10 more," 
she said.

   Trump began his three-day trip to the West at a rally in New Mexico, which 
he hopes to win next year despite losing by about 8 percentage points in 2016.

   Trump referred to California a couple of times in his speech, and not in a 
good way.

   The president noted that his administration is at odds with the state over 
fuel efficiency standards for automobiles. He long has made clear he wants to 
end California's clout in setting mileage standards, and Monday night he said 
he wants heavier cars because they're safer and cheaper, even if they are less 
fuel efficient.

   "California wants you to do the other cars and we don't," Trump said. "We 
will end up in big litigation and I am fighting for you," he told the crowd.

   He also joked about moving part of the border wall in San Diego to where it 
would be more appreciated.

   "I would love to take that sucker down and move it right now to New Mexico," 
he said to rousing cheers.


(KR)

 
 
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