Greeted in L.A. by jeers and cheers, Trump slams city leaders

A confrontation between a protester and a Trump supporter outside the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills
A confrontation between a protester and a Trump supporter outside the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills on Tuesday.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Two weeks before California’s primary election, Donald Trump landed in the blue state Tuesday for the fifth time in his presidency to meet with organizers of the 2028 Olympic Games before attending a fundraising dinner in Beverly Hills.

He used the occasion to again slam the city’s political leadership for failing to slow the homelessness epidemic.

For the record:

9:23 a.m. Feb. 20, 2020An earlier version of this article stated that this was President Trump’s fourth visit to California as president. This is his fifth visit to the state.

During a briefing on preparations for the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, the president said that if L.A. doesn’t “clean it up fast,” he will intervene.

“If they can’t do it themselves, we’re going to do it,” Trump said. “The federal government is going to take it over, we’re going to do it.”


The president arrived at Los Angeles International Airport shortly after 4:15 p.m. On the tarmac were several political figures, including the mayors of Anaheim and Lancaster.

Trump then headed to Beverly Hills. The ride to the venue was dotted with supporters who waved and protesters who did not wave, including a man who held up a sign reading “ROTTEN ORANGE.” Another sign read “JAIL TRUMP,” according to White House press pool reports. When he got to the Montage Beverly Hills to meet with the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Olympics organizers, he was greeted by a group of supporters.

Trump said he was called by the committee when he was president-elect and asked to make a call because the Obama administration hadn’t made a necessary decision.

“They were starving for love, and we gave them the love,” Trump said of the committee trying to get an Olympics in the U.S.

“I hope you remember me in 2028. You promise, Casey?” he asked the 2028 committee chairman. The chairman said he promised, according to pool reports.

Trump then signed a document he said was the federal government’s “total support” of L.A. for the Olympics.


Afterward, Trump took questions from reporters. He was soon asked about the rising number of California residents experiencing homelessness.

“We’re really taking a role in it,” Trump said. “I see it, I see what’s happening to L.A., I see what’s happening to San Francisco, I see what’s happening to some great cities.... You have needles, you have things that we don’t want to discuss all over the streets.”

He added that sanctuary cities were “very dangerous” and that L.A. and San Francisco had one thing in common: “the leadership.”

“There’s no reason this should’ve happened,” Trump said about rising homelessness.

Taking the next step in talks on combating L.A.’s homelessness crisis, Mayor Eric Garcetti and HUD Secretary Ben Carson announced a new collaboration.

Feb. 13, 2020

It was a similar tone to earlier in the day when, as he was traveling to Los Angeles, Trump took aim at Mayor Eric Garcetti, who on Friday spoke out against a new immigration crackdown by the Trump administration.

Federal immigration officials announced a new push to add more resources in sanctuary cities. U.S. Customs and Border Protection plans to deploy 50 Border Patrol agents and 50 field operations customs officers in nine areas, according to the agency. Specially trained officers will be sent to cities including Los Angeles, Chicago and New York.

On Friday, Garcetti and Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore released a video saying local police wouldn’t be working with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“Regardless of your immigration status, I want every Angeleno to know your city is on your side. Here in Los Angeles, our police department does not coordinate with ICE or participate in immigration enforcement,” Garcetti said on Twitter.

Trump on Tuesday fired back with a tweet: “The Mayor’s efforts to shield illegal aliens endangers the lives of the public and law enforcement who have to go into the field to apprehend those released. He shouldn’t be urging illegals to beat the system, he should be urging them to safely turn themselves in!”

President Trump greets supporters on the tarmac at LAX
President Trump greets supporters on the tarmac after departing Air Force One at LAX.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

On Wednesday, Trump is planning to meet with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in Bakersfield “to speak with hard-working farmers in the Central Valley about efforts to dramatically improve the supply and delivery of water in California and other Western states,” the White House said.

McCarthy welcomed Trump’s visit while speaking Sunday on Fox News.

“We have a real concern in California because we send most of our water out to the ocean [instead of] sending it down to Southern California, to our farmlands in the San Joaquin Valley and others,” McCarthy said. “This president has worked greatly using science — not based on politics but on science — to allow to have more of that water stay with the Californians and America to make sure we’re secure in our food supply as we move forward.”

While in Bakersfield, Trump is expected to oversee the signing of an Interior Department decision that rolls back endangered species protections that have curbed water deliveries to Central Valley farmers and Southern California cities.

Trump has previously attacked the fish protections as a waste of water, echoing the complaints of Central Valley Republicans. In 2018, he directed federal agencies to boost irrigation deliveries to the valley, a move that particularly benefited the Westlands Water District.

The sprawling agricultural district is a former client of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, who was a partner in one of the nation’s top-grossing lobbying and law firms before joining the Trump administration.

Westlands Water District, a sprawling Central Valley farm district with ties to the Trump administration, is poised to get a permanent contract for a massive quantity of cheap federal irrigation supplies.

Nov. 11, 2019

The endangered species rollback has further strained California’s icy relationship with Washington, and state officials have said they may sue to block it.

Later Wednesday, Trump will visit Rancho Mirage in Riverside County for a fundraising golf event hosted by Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison. He’ll then fly to Phoenix for a Wednesday night campaign rally before heading to Colorado Springs, Colo., for a rally on Thursday and circling back to Las Vegas for another on Friday.

According to an event invitation obtained by the Desert Sun, supporters can pay $100,000 for the golf outing and photo opportunity with Trump, or $250,000 for an additional round-table discussion. The contributions go to “Trump Victory,” a fundraising committee involving the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee and state Republican chapters.

Trump last visited California in September, with trips to Palo Alto, Los Angeles and San Diego. During his trip, he criticized the state’s homelessness crisis and visited the border area of Otay Mesa, which separates San Diego from Mexico, and met with officials from U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Defense. Throughout his trip, he was met by protesters and supporters.

While in Los Angeles during that visit, Trump stayed at the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown inside the Wilshire Grand Center skyscraper.

Times staff writers Bettina Boxall and Jaclyn Cosgrove and the Associated Press contributed to this report.