California Elites Implode as Trump Blitzes State for Major $15M Fundraising Push
Hollywood celebrities and liberal activists triggered by president's visit to deep blue CA
President Donald Trump landed in deep-blue California on Tuesday for a mega two-day fundraising blitz, expected to pull in $15 million from wealthy Republicans in the state for his 2020 campaign.
Hollywood celebrities and Californian liberals imploded over the visit, however.
As President Trump began executing his lunch-dinner-breakfast-lunch fundraising assault on Tuesday, flustered California elites went into meltdown.
Hollywood darlings were first triggered last month when Trump's Emmy-week visit to the Golden State was announced.
"Will and Grace" star Debra Messing called for everyone attending the fundraising events to be publicly named and "shamed."
Trump fired back at Messing, blasting her as a failed actress who is dabbling in racism and McCarthyism.
According to Fox News, the president's undeterred push westward came a day after he headlined a fiery rally in New Mexico, long a reliably liberal state that the Trump campaign has hoped to turn red in 2020.
Trump has been looking to find the next Wisconsin or Michigan — states that Democrats generally have won in presidential elections but that could surprise under certain conditions, as they did in 2016.
Also on the Trump team's shortlist in the new strategy: Nevada, New Hampshire, and Minnesota.
California is decidedly not on that list.
Nevertheless, Republican strategists said, the state could still be useful, even if not for its electoral votes.
At his Bay Area fundraiser, Trump told attendees he thinks California is "a beautiful state, but that the system was rigged — the elections were not done fairly — and that it made it very difficult” for him to win, RNC committeewoman Harmeet Dhillon says https://t.co/LZsLOWgtm6— Casey Tolan (@caseytolan) September 17, 2019
"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 and 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 $3 million Bay Area luncheon, to be followed by a $5 million Beverly Hills dinner at the home of real estate developer Geoffrey Palmer.
He's expected to bring in an additional $7 million on Wednesday with a breakfast in Los Angeles and luncheon in San Diego.
In all, 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.
Protesters were kept at bay along the road by Secret Service agents.
According to The Mercury News, as Trump's motorcade roared by, filmmaker Ralph King hoisted a hand-written sign reading “you are not welcome here” and said, “it’s offensive that Trump is bringing his toxic message into our backyard.”
Nearby, Trump supporters also gathered.
“People think that to be conservative, you’ve got to be racist or rich,” 24-year-old Kenny Camacho, 24, told the paper.
“It’s the complete opposite — we’re a silent majority in this country that supports him.”
Trump reportedly told Bay Area supporters that California is "a beautiful state, but that the system was rigged — the elections were not done fairly — and that it made it very difficult" for him to win, RNC committeewoman Harmeet Dhillon said.
California legalized ballot harvesting in 2018.
Previously, only a family member or someone living in the same household was permitted to drop off mail ballots for a voter, but the new law allowed anyone – including political operatives – to collect and return them for a voter.
Despite holding substantial leads on Election Day, many Republican candidates in California saw their advantage shrink, and then disappear, as late-arriving Democratic votes were counted in the weeks following the election.
“We were only down 26 seats [nationally] the night of the election and three weeks later, we lost basically every California race,” then-outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., told the Washington Post last year.
“Point being, when you have candidates that win the absentee ballot vote, win the day of the vote, and then lose three weeks later because of provisionals, that’s really bizarre.”
President Donald Trump has noted that California's Democrats are seemingly unable to deal with California’s homelessness epidemic and has ordered White House officials to address the issue,— Neon Nettle (@NeonNettle) September 11, 2019
READ MORE: https://t.co/eZZlZs0o6b
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."
He added, "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."
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, a Democrat, said in a Facebook video post 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.
The mayor was speaking at one of an eventual 26 housing facilities being built to transition people from life on the streets.
"President Trump: we have to press pause on politics, confront the homelessness crisis, and save lives now," Garcetti said.
"I wanted to talk to him a little bit as if he had come down here to South LA to understand and to hear the challenges we face and ways that Washington, D.C. — instead of demonizing us — might be able to actually come and help us."
Garcetti also pushed back on a Trump assertion in a July interview that homelessness was a phenomenon that began two years ago: "I'd like to reassure the president it didn't start two years ago when you became president.
"It didn't even start six years ago when I became mayor, but it is our collective watch and our collective responsibility to solve this."
However, Garcetti separately sounded a conciliatory tone when he spoke to reporters.
"I know I'm just supposed to punch the president back, but if he is real about it, I'll believe it when I see it, but I'll also trust that he wants to save some lives as well," the mayor said.
"Certainly I do. We could do that together."
California was seen as 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 immigrants and new residents have helped rework the political contours of the country's most populated state drastically, with the former GOP stronghold of Orange County having more registered Democrats than Republicans as of this summer.
Earlier this month, Trump fired back at Debra Messing after she tweeted that attendees of the Trump's California fundraisers should be outed publicly, following a similar push from costar Eric McCormack.
Please print a list of all attendees please. The public has a right to know. https://t.co/YV4UoxrPHI— Debra Messing (@DebraMessing) August 31, 2019
Trump tweeted back: "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!"
....said what she did, even being on a much higher rated show, she would have been thrown off television. Will Fake News NBC allow a McCarthy style Racist to continue? ABC fired Roseanne. Watch the double standard!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2019
McCormack later said he never supported blacklists, to which Messing responded, "I couldn't have said it better."
Last month, Trump took aim at the state's massive film industry, calling Hollywood "very dangerous for our country."
He added, "Hollywood is really terrible.
"You talk about racist — Hollywood is racist."
That's contributed to heightened security concerns surrounding the president's visit.
A BBQ restaurant chain in San Antonio, Texas has seen record sales after the company's owner #BalousMiller was "exposed" as one of President Donald Trump's donors by Democrat Rep. #JoaquinCastro’s (D-TX) this week.— Neon Nettle (@NeonNettle) August 10, 2019
READ MORE: https://t.co/JTblwsx8v9#BillMillerBarBQ
Meanwhile, a Republican congressman in California said Tuesday he won't run for re-election next year, making him the 18th GOP incumbent to bow out of the House of Representatives now that the party is in the minority.
GOP Rep. Paul Cook announced he instead will run for a seat on the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors in 2020.
California has 53 U.S. House seats, the most of any state.
Its Republican congressional delegation was cut in half during the 2018 midterms, leaving the party with just seven of those seats.