Donald Trump’s Speech to Showbiz Group Met With Protests

donald trump
Scott Olson/Getty Images


Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Friday gave what one attendee described as a quintessential Trump speech before a group of Hollywood conservatives — brash, self assured, and plenty of humor.

Trump’s appearance before Friends of Abe — a fellowship of showbiz right-of-center professionals — was met with protests outside the Luxe Hotel in Brentwood over remarks he has made about Mexican immigrants.

Chanting “Donald Trump has got to go” in English and Spanish, the protesters drew occasional honks from passing cars on Sunset Boulevard, with a heavy presence of Los Angeles Police Department officers on watch.

But Trump told the more than 300 people gathered at the event that he felt those comments have been taken out of context and that he “had great affection for the Mexican people,” said Jeremy Boreing, who runs day-to-day operations for FOA.

At the FOA event, Trump said that his comments were “not meant as an indictment of everyone who crosses the border,” Boreing said. “He said that the problem on the border was created by two different governments.”

Trump said last month in his presidential kickoff speech that Mexico was “sending people that have lots of problems. … They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”  

Those comments triggered a number of companies to sever ties with his business entities. NBC dropped its association with him for”Celebrity Apprentice” and cancelled plans to air Trump’s Miss USA Pageant.

Trump said “that he loves NBC and was proud of the work he did at NBC,” Boreing said. Trump also suggested that the network, before severing its ties, “was mad that he was not coming back for another season of ‘The Apprentice,'” as he had thrown his hat in the ring for the presidential race.

Trump also said that “he plans to release his financial statement next week, and he assured us that we would be impressed by the statement,” Boreing said, in line with his persona of not shying away from pointing out the sucessess in his life.

The speech “was brash and self-congratulatory, but I think he is making the serious point that he has been successful in life which is what qualifies him to make a run for the presidency,” Boreing said. Of the crowd’s response, he said, “it was a very raucous room, very happy. He gave a very very funny set of remarks — extraneous and off the cuff.”

“I would say he is probably the presidential candidate in the field today who best understands stagecraft,” he said.

Boreing said that the protests were peaceful and there were no incidents.

When word got out that Trump was planning this Los Angeles appearance, a number of immigrant groups planned protests, including Chirla Action Fund, which helped organize the demonstration at the intersection of Sunset and Church Lane.

Along the street protesters waved placards saying “Dump Trump” and pinata effigies of the mogul.

“He lost a lot of business because of what he said, but it doesn’t matter, because he has a lot of money,” said Diana Wong, 26, of East Los Angeles. “That to me tells me his interests aren’t with the people at all.”

Wong said she moved to Los Angeles from Mexico when she was 5, but is of Chinese ancestry.

“I am against the fact that he is stereotyping people who are here as workers, as families, as students such as myself,” she said. “I don’t think I am the model of what he thinks when he says immigrant.”

About a half-dozen Trump supporters joined the crowd outside the hotel. One had a sign that read, “If you’re politically correct, you can’t handle the truth.”

Friends of Abe was started a decade ago as a fellowship for showbiz conservatives, intent on keeping a low profile in an industry dominated by Democrats. Although it has drawn members like Gary Sinise, Kelsey Grammer and Jon Voight, much of its membership is made up of writers, producers, directors and crew members, and their events are private.

But it has gained more visibility in recent years, in part because it routinely draws major GOP and conservative figures as speakers, such as Carly Fiorina, Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. The IRS granted FOA nonprofit status last year.

Boreing said it does “not endorse candidates for public office. We host movement conservatives so that our members can hear their views directly without the filter of editors and editorializers.”

He said members “did not at any point consider cancelling the event. That would be ungracious and inhospitable to our guest. Plus we believe in free speech and giving our members the chance to reach their own conclusions about movement conservatives.”

As with other speakers, plans for Trump to address the group were made several months in advance, before he announced his presidential bid. “We didn’t schedule this event as a public statement,” Boreing said.

Sinise, one of the group’s founders, handed off day-to-day responsibilities for the group four years ago and was not involved in the Trump booking.

Boreing said that he hopes that despite all the attention paid to the Trump event, “my hope is that it doesn’t change our core mandate. We are not looking to be a voice in the movement. This is an opportunity to come together and spend time with like-minded friends.”

Trump’s comments also have been drawing attention among Sacramento lawmakers.

On Thursday, state Sen. Isadore Hall III (D-Compton) introduced a resolution denouncing Trump.

State Senate pro tem Kevin de Leon, co-sponsor of the resolution, told Variety on Friday the resolution would be heard in a policy committee and eventually be voted on the Senate floor.

“It is a very strong resolution that sends a message that divisiveness and scapegoating and targeting of individuals have no place in America,” he said.

He noted that rather than apologize or modify his remarks, Trump “is going head first even deeper, but obviously that is his own prerogative.”

Asked whether the Luxe Hotel should have tried to pull out of the event, as some groups have called for, de Leon said, “I am respectful of all businesses. Obviously they have the right to host whatever events. Business is business at the end of the day. It would have been nice had they canceled it, give that their workforce is primarily Latino immigrant, and most likely Mexican or Central American. But obviously they have made their own decision.”

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  1. Karen Mo says:

    Trump is right across the board. But, let’s not forget that it is the way it is, because the rich and powerful want it that way. They don’t want to employ a powerful unionized middle class of Americans, when they can ship their factories to China and Mexico, and employ uneducated people who can live on a dollar an hour, and bring in these same people from across the border to work as slaves illegally.

    As someone living in California, I’ve seen too many illegals come in and damage our neighborhoods and towns. Crime has risen, property values have fallen, and the influx of minimum wage workers takes jobs from high schoolers..

    We can no longer afford to “split the pot” with everyone who wants a piece. America is struggling enough as it is. Most of us are making below living wage and just had our health insurance forcefully taken away. I make 60k per year and my healthcare is up to $400 per month; compare this to my $25/month car insurance (from Insurance Panda) or my $13/month renters insurance. Both private enterprise (take note, Obama).

    Trump is totally correct on this topic. Illegals are ruining this country and the president is allowing this to happen.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wow!! You don’t think that illegals accept jobs that Americans DO NOT WANT TO DO!! You are a fucking RACIST!!

  2. Debra burrow says:

    How refreshing it finally is to have someone like Donald Trump to say all the things that half of Americans say and complain about every day of the week ! Yes I have heard enough in just last 2 weeks to know I will vote for Donald Trump . I am so tired of being told what we think is unimportant or that Obama is smarter than all of us people here in the southern states . I a so happy to have trump running !

  3. Marguerite Thibault says:

    If ISIS has training camps in Mexico, than everyone in this Country including illegal immigrants need to be concerned about closing the borders. The time has come to protect our Country plus the illegals who have made there way into our Country for their domicile.
    People seem to be insulted about Trump’s harsh rhetoric, but times have changed. Ten years ago you didn’t have ISIS training camps in Mexico. He sounds tough but he really is trying to close the doors now to this type of intrusion into our Country. He does love the Mexican people and their culture, he doesn’t want to see his Country attacked through these portals that allow other people (some which are intent on doing great harm to America) from other cultures that are also using these ports of entry to make their way into America along with the Mexican population.
    No other President has taken a firm stance on closing the borders. The threat in the pass was not an emergency issue until now.
    He has the posturing to stand tall, be heard, whether it burns ones sensibilities, it now has to be enforced for our own and the new immigrants who made it to America whether legally or illegally. People are ridiculing a man who speaks the truth, but the same people don’t scream fowl, when people are being beheaded by ISIS people around the World and now these same people are now South of our borders. Give me a break! Wake up America. TIMES HAVE CHANGED!! Mr. Trump is trying to wake up America as we stand before the abyss. If we do’t make major changes now and stand up for a stronger personality who isn’t wish-washy about protecting our borders than the consequences for generations into the future life will be hell for all.
    The reality is the ISIS’S PEOPLE will have no pity on any American whether legal or illegal, they want total control to destroy this Nation.

  4. Casey Jones says:

    GO Trump. I may not be your supporter but you do have your rights. Use them, with my backing.

  5. So if these genius’s are trying to pass a bill denouncing Trumps ‘divisiveness’ and thing they are doing the right thing then they should really go after the worst, most divisive thing in the united states today.
    The US Congress and Specifically the House of Representatives. Trump is quaint compared to the trash that goes on in congress.

  6. kino says:

    Trump is anti-ILLEGAL immigration not legal immigration.

  7. I’ll just be Jewed around it’d never be posted … lol

  8. annie says:

    Difference between Donald Trump and Obama…

    Trump SPEAKS the TRUTH

    Obama LIES about the TRUTH

    • Anonymous says:

      Difference between Donald Trump and Obama…

      Trump IS A RACIST

      Obama, no.

    • eemm says:

      Annie, difference between you and intelligent people:

      You’re buying racist hate from an asshole bigot.
      Intelligent people are not!

      • Kathleen Trueman says:

        Intelligent people engage in debate and don’t need to reply with name calling. You sound like the person who is filled with hate.

  9. Harley says:

    These people totally missed what he was trying to say, and that is we cannot afford to take many more people from other countries that don’t care about our country and are not skilled labors that are not going to help move our country forward. The other thing he was trying to say is Mexico is a very corrupt country that doesn’t care about its people and wouldn’t mind seeing them come up to the United States and cause more trouble with us.

  10. James Hall says:

    This is good. These folks will get the chance to see a madman up close and warn others.

  11. Anonymous says:

    If you’ve seen Fight Club, you’d know enough not to order the soup at one of these events.

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