Trump gives California grief – but also takes its money

PORTOLA VALLEY, California (AP) – United States (US) President Donald Trump rarely passes up the chance to throw a sharp elbow at left-leaning California, but he showed on Tuesday he’s more than happy to cash in there with a lunch-dinner-breakfast-lunch fundraising blitz expected to scoop up USD15 million from wealthy Republicans in two days.

“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.”

With protesters not far away, Trump kicked off his moneymaking Tuesday with a USD3 million Bay Area luncheon, to be followed by a USD5 million Beverly Hills dinner at the home of real estate developer Geoffrey Palmer. He brought in an additional USD7 million yesterday with a breakfast in Los Angeles and luncheon in San Diego before he visits a section of the border wall.

About 100 protesters lined the road about a mile from Trump’s luncheon site in Portola Valley, with demonstrators inflating giant Baby Trump and Trump Chicken balloons.

Republican National Committee member HarmeetDhillon of California said about 400 guests attended the fundraiser at the home of Sun Microsystems co-founder Scott McNealy, where the president spoke for about 45 minutes then took questions from the crowd.

Trump tweeted a cheery message as he departed New Mexico on Tuesday to fly to the state: “Just departed New Mexico for California, where we are delivering results!” The tweet included statistics about the state’s unemployment rate and job creation.

Talking to reporters aboard Air Force One, Trump got in some fresh digs about the state’s problem with homelessness, saying, “We can’t let Los Angeles, San Francisco and numerous other cities destroy themselves by allowing what’s happening.”

“The people of San Francisco are fed up, and the people of Los Angeles are fed up. And we’re looking at it, and we’ll be doing something about it,” he added.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, a Democrat, said ahead of Trump’s arrival that he hoped the president would work with the city to end homelessness. He said he had not been invited to meet with the President.

California was an incubator for the modern conservative movement that swept the state’s former governor, 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.