The snub may soon end: President Trump is preparing his first trip to California as chief executive.
The White House confirmed Tuesday that Trump hopes to visit Southern California during the second week of March to see prototypes of his long-promised border wall and attend a political fundraiser in either Los Angeles or Orange County.
If Trump sticks to that plan, it would mark his first presidential touchdown in a state that has been a hotbed of resistance, ending a notable snub of the state and its 40 million residents: Since Franklin Roosevelt’s first term, when presidents still traveled by rail, no chief executive has gone so long in office without visiting the state.
Trump last set foot in California during the 2016 primary season.
The details of Trump’s visit are still being determined, a spokesman said, and it’s possible the dates could change. Earlier plans for a California stop were scrubbed after Trump’s schedule filled up with other events, the spokesman said.
Plans for the visit were first reported by the Washington Post.
Trump lost California in a landslide, winning a mere 32% of the vote against Democrat Hillary Clinton. Her 4-million-vote margin more than accounted for Trump’s loss in the nationwide popular vote, and a few weeks after the election he attributed his deficit to unfounded claims of “serious voter fraud.”
His relationship with the state and its overwhelmingly Democratic political establishment has scarcely improved since.
State lawmakers have battled the administration on a range of issues, including, most prominently, immigration policy, and Trump has responded with a series of barbs.
Last week, he threatened to pull Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents from California as punishment for the state’s "lousy management job" at stemming illegal immigration.
"We're getting no help from the state of California,” he said. “Frankly, if I pulled our people from California, you would have a crime nest like you've never seen in California. All I'd have to do is say, 'ICE, Border Patrol, leave California alone.'"
Local police officials responded by saying Trump failed to appreciate their efforts and did not understand the means, such as building trusted ties within immigrant communities, they have used to keep their cities safe.
Staff Writer Mark Z. Barabak contributed to this article from San Francisco.