Bizarre but True: Trump's Last California Trip
Air Force One is due to set down at LAX around 11:30 PDT on Tuesday, marking Donald Trump's first visit to California since becoming president - planned ostensibly to inspect prototypes for his border wall, but mostly to rake in $5 million in campaign cash in Beverly Hills in about three hours.
With California increasingly positioned as the capital of Trump Resistance, Golden State voters seemingly have soured on him more each week since the 2016 election, when he lost here to Hillary Clinton 61.6-to-32.8 percent.
The most recent, prestigious UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll showed Californians disapproving of his presidential performance by a ratio of 66-to-30 percent (the remaining four percent presumably got drunk on election night and have not yet bestirred themselves to check their Twitter feeds).
As the Administration continues to attack, assail and assault us over immigration, health care, offshore drilling, marijuana and a host of other issues, Newsmakers was put in mind of Trump’s last visit to California. All the way back in April 2016, it may help explain why our 46 percent 45th president has such an aversion to us.
How the Deal Went Down. On Saturday, April 29 that year, Trump had to be sneaked into a backdoor, kitchen entrance to the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport Hotel to appear before the California Republican Party convention, which was deciding its presidential endorsement ahead of the June primary.
With an army of protesters demonstrating in front of the hotel, the CHP and Trump’s security detail used bolt cutters to remove a three-foot section of a construction fence out back, then hustled the candidate down an asphalt-lined ditch, up a small dirt embankment and into the hotel.
Jerry and political writer Phil Trounstine retraced Trump’s steps the next morning, reporting their findings on their state politics website Calbuzz:
Trump next was walked down a service hallway, then veered off course to fix his hair while standing before a large mirror. Eyewitnesses say they were struck by the importance Trump placed on restoring order to his signature coif.
He walked into a service area behind the convention podium...Then entered the banquet hall from stage right and walked to the podium.
“This was not the easiest entrance I’ve ever made,” Trump told the crowd. “We went under a fence and through a fence,” he lied, “and, oh boy, it felt like I was crossing the border, actually.”
Trump then insulted “Lyin’ Ted” Cruz and “Disgusting” John Kasich (and by extension their many followers seated in the hall), called for “party unity” before quickly adding that he didn’t really need it.
This actually happened. Early the next day, tourists already were visiting the spot along Hwy 101 where Trump skulked through the fence:
Pilgrims have begun visiting a small, windswept site alongside U.S. 101-N, where Secret Service agents less than 24 hours earlier fabricated a makeshift pathway for Donald Trump to skulk into the California Republican convention, we've learned.
Early Saturday, Calbuzz News Team On the Scene! captured live images of the bizarre spectacle of tourists transforming into a kind of political shrine the spot where Trump sneaked into the San Francisco Airport Hyatt Regency after protesters blocked his motorcade.
As our crew was investigating the scene for the full report, below, a car heading north on US 101 suddenly pulled off onto the right shoulder, where CalTrans workers have been working to widen the highway.
The unidentified male driver and three teenagers jumped out of the vehicle. Retracing Trump’s footsteps, they made their way down an asphalt-lined ditch, jumped down and through a small opening in the construction fence cut away by law enforcement.
As your Calbuzzers recorded the event in astonishment, the smiling man, who appeared to be a Trump supporter, lined up his kids to pose for pictures at the now-historic fence opening.
He also examined with considerable interest the portion of green fence that had been cut and cast aside. “They’re kind of liberal,” he said of the teens. “It’s important for them to see this.”
The Calbuzz team then picked up the section of green fence, carried it inside and presented to convention organizers, suggesting they might want to raffle it off.
Images: The 45th president of the United States; the ditch the Secret Service employed to hustle then-candidate Trump into a Bay Area hotel to avoid protesters; a future Newsmakers correspondent points to a three-foot section of construction fence the CHP cut away to get Trump onto the hotel property; a tourist taking a photo of his kids near the sacred site the morning after; The Calbuzz team.