Trump vs. California
Donald Trump embarks on his first presidential visit to California on Tuesday, and tensions are peaking with the heavily Democratic Golden State.
The Republican chief executive touches down one week after Attorney General Jeff Sessions stopped in Sacramento to unveil a federal lawsuit against the state over its immigration policies — the latest chapter in the California vs. Trump saga that has played out in the nearly 14 months he's been in office.
The president may not receive a warm welcome when he arrives. California voters supported Hillary Clinton by a nearly 2-to-1 margin in 2016.
Immigrant advocacy groups and elected officials were expected to begin protesting before Air Force One lands.
Why is he coming?
Trump lands in San Diego Tuesday for a one-day trip to rub elbows with the state's Republican political elite at an evening fundraiser, speak to armed service members and to check out prototypes of his controversial border wall. It's not unusual for presidents of both parties to come to California and combine fundraising events with official business.
Trump's approval rating in California was at at dismal 30 percent in December — among the lowest of all time — and he clashes with California on many fronts. But emphasizing that with a visit could inspire his political base, here and elsewhere.
Has he been here before?
Trump avoided the state during his first year as commander-in-chief, and Tuesday marks his first official visit as president. Dwight D. Eisenhower is the last president to not travel to the state during his inaugural year. Vice President Mike Pence came west in October to raise campaign cash, make a pitch for the administration’s tax plan and visit with emergency officials as California fought vicious wildfires.
What is his schedule?
Trump is expected to land at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar at 11:30 a.m. and then visit prototypes of his border wall at Otay Mesa. The president returns to the Miramar air station again at 2 p.m. to speak to members of the military and then heads north for a $35,000-a-head fundraiser in Beverly Hills sponsored by the Republican National Committee. Donors can contribute up to $250,000 to the RNC and Trump's re-election effort.
Gov. Jerry Brown extended an invitation to Trump to visit the Central Valley to win over his support for the governor's high-speed rail project. A spokesperson for the White House said Trump will not be traveling to Fresno on Tuesday.
Is he golfing in California?
It's not on the schedule, but the Trump Organization's website lists three California properties in its real estate portfolio, including the Trump National Golf Club, an 18-hole and 7,300 yard oceanfront golf course on the Palos Verdes peninsula. The company also sells domestic properties "for the most discerning of buyers" along the golf course with "panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island." The organization claims ownership of 555 California Street, a 52-story commercial real estate building in San Francisco previously known as the Bank of America Tower. The company does not list its ownership stake in the properties.
Why is he at odds with California?
Trump's relationship with California has been rocky from the start. His campaign pledged to build a wall along the border with Mexico and ramp up deportations, setting the stage for major clashes over immigration policy. Hillary Clinton ultimately beat Trump in California by more than four million votes.
Days after the election, California lawmakers began crafting bills to insulate the state from Trump's campaign promises. Last fall, Brown signed Senate Bill 54 to limit the ability of local police to work with federal authorities to enforce immigration law. Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement stepped up immigration raids up and down the state this year.
The tension between California and Washington came to a head last week when the Trump administration filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the state's "sanctuary" status and two other laws to protect immigrants residing in the state without legal authorization. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions appeared in downtown Sacramento to publicly unveil the suit and reiterated claims that California is overstepping its powers by interfering with federal authorities. Gov. Brown deviated from his usual measured tone to call Sessions' visit "a political stunt" and proclaim that Washington is "basically going to war against the state of California, the engine of the American economy."
The deep blue state and the Trump administration also have clashed over offshore oil drilling, climate change policy, health care, the federal tax code and marijuana policy.
How can I protest?
There's plenty of opportunity to protest Trump, but you need to be in Southern California to join the action.
California Senate Leader Kevin de León, immigrant rights groups and labor unions will rally Monday afternoon against Trump's "xenophobic immigration policies and attacks on California’s people and their values" in Beverly Hills. The rally begins at 4 p.m. at Beverly Gardens Park.
Another gathering organized by the political organization Union del Barrio begins in San Diego at 5 p.m. Monday at the Edward J. Schwartz Federal Building. The group is organizing a second rally at a yet-to-be determined location in Beverly Hills at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.
Other protests are planned in Otay Mesa on Tuesday morning.