President Trump broke with standard practice Tuesday, flying to California without any lawmakers from the state.
Such trips are normally a perk, most often for lawmakers of the president’s political party, who get to ride on the prestigious Air Force One and enjoy access to the president as well as some local publicity.
Trump’s solo flight suggests the political risk he brings to state Republicans given his low popularity in California. Though aides aboard the plane, which landed at 11:23 a.m. PDT, said they knew of no visits Trump would have with local lawmakers, Rep. Duncan Hunter was spotted at the site where Trump will inspect prototypes for a southern border wall.
As President Trump headed for the San Diego area Tuesday to look at prototypes for a proposed border wall, state Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra mocked the project at a news conference in Los Angeles, saying it would not make America safer.
Announcing the seizure of grenade launchers and assault weapons from several felons, Becerra called Tuesday on Trump and Congress to follow the state’s example on gun safety issues.
“While In D.C. they talk, in California we act,” Becerra said, adding that Trump “should follow California’s lead.”
The gridlock in downtown Los Angeles was even worse than usual Tuesday morning as authorities blocked off key streets surrounding the Wilshire Grand Center ahead of President Trump’s visit to Southern California.
Video from the scene showed motorists navigating closures in the city’s heart.
The Wilshire Grand announced to its tenants and workers that a VIP or high-security visitor was expected at the hotel on Tuesday, which lines up with Trump’s first visit to the state since becoming president.
President Trump vowed earlier this year he'd stump for Republicans in competitive House races, saying he would spend "probably four or five days a week" helping GOP candidates get elected. As he made his first visit to California, a state with several seats in play, few seemed interested in taking him up on his offer.
A presidential visit in an election year often comes with an entourage of local officials and candidates hoping to catch a photo op or ride his coattails. But in Southern California, a hotbed of the left's resistance out West that could prove crucial in the midterms, many are staying away.
Democrats in California’s congressional delegation accused the Trump administration of “politically motivated” immigration enforcement in a letter sent to the White House Tuesday.
Increased indiscriminate arrests are keeping people from seeking healthcare, sending their kids to school or reporting crime to police, and are “compromising the civil rights and liberties of all Californians – regardless of citizenship or immigration status,” the letter states.
Nearly every Democrat in the California delegation signed onto a letter led by California Sens. Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein and Reps. Lou Correa of Santa Ana and Zoe Lofgren of San Jose.