Donald Trump Protesters and Supporters Clash After Rally in Anaheim

Donald Trump
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Donald Trump returned to California on Wednesday, where he predicted he would win wide support among a diverse group, including Hispanics, Asians and women, while he said that a Hillary Clinton presidency would mean “nothing but turmoil.”

After his speech at the Anaheim Convention Center, protesters got into shouting arguments with some Trump backers. Anti-Trump demonstrators, some with bandannas covering their faces, shouted “F— Trump” as his supporters tried to surround them and drown them out with shouts of “USA. USA.”

There was a heavy police and security presence at the convention center and the surrounding hotels and streets, including dozens of officers in riot gear, to try to minimize clashes. At about 2 p.m., about 45 minutes after Trump spoke, authorities in a police helicopter warned demonstrators to disburse for unlawful assembly or face arrest. Police said that at least eight people were arrested.

At one point Trump supporters, gathered at a convention center parking garage, chanted at demonstrators who were on the streets. Shouts of “Donald Trump has got to go!” were met with “Hey, hey, go home.”

“Without immigration, Donald Trump wouldn’t have so many wives,” shouted one man holding an anti-Trump sign. There was some expletive filled graffiti anti-Trump sprayed along the I-5 freeway, several miles north of the convention center.

Protesters also gathered on Hollywood Boulevard, where Trump was to tape an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” to air on Wednesday evening. He also is attending a $25,000-per-person fundraiser at the Santa Monica home of real estate investor Thomas Barrack, in his first high-dollar event of his campaign. Police closed off portions of San Vicente Boulevard, fearing protests there.

Inside the arena in Anaheim, there were three instances where demonstrators were kicked out, as Trump, as he has done at past events, mocked the disruptor. “Do not hurt him,” Trump said as one man was escorted out. “I say that for the TV cameras, but he’s a very bad person.”

Trump singled out groups in the crowd like Chinese Americans for Trump and a man holding a sign that said “Latinos for Trump.”

“I love that,” he said, adding, “By the way, you came here legally.”

He said that it also helped that he settled a lawsuit against Univision, which he filed last year after the broadcaster dropped its telecast of the Miss Universe Pageant, which Trump then owned.

Hispanics, he said, “are going to vote for me like crazy.”

The news on Wednesday that the State Department’s Inspector General found fault with Clinton’s use of a private email server got just a short mention of criticism from Trump, but he got cheers when he said that she was “not equipped” to run for president and had shown “bad judgment.”

He brought up the attacks on the American consulate in Benghazi, claiming that Clinton was not up for the overnight phone calls for help when she was Secretary of State. There were “hundreds and hundreds of emails and calls and she kept sleeping [through],” he said.

Clinton’s campaign tweeted, “Donald Trump is fueling conspiracy theories out on the campaign trail. Can you imagine that in the Situation Room?”

Trump said he may end up running against “Crazy Bernie,” referring to Bernie Sanders.

Trump said that his campaign would “make a big play for California” in the general election, even though a Republican had not won the state since 1988.

Some of Trump’s biggest cheers came when he talked about building a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border, eliciting chants from the crowd of “Build That Wall.” It was clear that illegal immigration was a big issue for many who came to the rally. Speakers before Trump included members of the Remembrance Project, a group of relatives of victims of crimes committed by illegal immigrants.

Trump’s speech, lasting nearly an hour, was less a list of policy prescriptions than a narrative of how he and his campaign got to where it is.

As he has in past events, Trump went through a number of names of detractors, like conservative pundit Bill Kristol and 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney (who he said “walks like a penguin”). They are among the conservatives who continue their criticism of Trump even though he is the presumptive nominee. He noted that Jeb Bush had bashed him in an interview he gave to a European TV outlet, perhaps thinking, Trump surmised, that he wouldn’t hear about it. He did.

Trump predicted Bush would come around to support him.

“He’ll get a burst of energy and he will do it.”

Trump again called Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) “Pocahontas,” and said of her, “She’s got a big mouth and that’s about it.”

Jay Ding, 42, a native of China who has lived in Eagle Rock for 10 years, said she was impressed by Trump’s business background. Carrying a Chinese Americans for Trump sign, she said that she found herself in agreement with Trump on issues of the imbalance with trade with China, which he pins on poor U.S. negotiation. “Hey, it is our leaders’ fault, not the Chinese leaders’ fault,” Trump said.

“We need somebody to speak for us, not to speak for the big corporations,” Ding said, noting Clinton’s ties to Wall Street. “He’s not a member of the establishment. People are tired of that.”

Trump also took aim at companies that move factories and operations to Mexico, and says that as president he would ensure that the firms would face a 35 percent tax if they sought to sell their goods in the U.S.

Dylan Jensen, 17, of Huntington Beach, is a senior in high school, will be eligible to vote on Election Day and plans to cast a ballot for Trump. “He gets stuff done,” he said.

Even as Romney and House Speaker Paul Ryan withhold their support, there were some at the Trump rally who backed other candidates and now are ready to back the GOP’s presumptive nominee.

Adam D. Smith, 39, an accountant from Tampa, Fla., was in Anaheim for a conference and decided to take a break and attend the rally. He volunteered and raised money for the 2004 campaign of President George W. Bush and worked for Mitt Romney in 2008 and 2012.

“Before Donald Trump ran I liked Chris Christie. He’s a no B.S. kind of guy,” Smith said. “He’s willing to say what need to be said.” He said that he wanted someone who didn’t “mince words and faced the issues dead on.”

Smith said he read “The Art of the Deal” when he was a kid and was a finalist for season five of “The Apprentice.” He cited Trump’s business experience as a big factor in his support.

“A president is a CEO of the United States of America. You are controlling the biggest economy and the world’s largest military,” he said.

He said that he was “highly disappointed” that Romney is not backing Trump, and said that it was “abhorrent” that Romney has criticized Trump for not releasing his tax returns “considering he was dealing with the same issue when he ran for president.”

“Frankly, I don’t remember anything in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights or any legal document that requires tax returns to be submitted as qualifications to run for president,” he said.

Pat Riley, an artist from Redondo Beach, said that she originally was for John Kasich.

“I am all for Donald Trump because I can’t stand Hillary Clinton,” “I think he is a good businessman and I think he could do something for our country.”

As for Trump’s speaking style, she said, “I think it is rather refreshing. I am tired of all these scripted politicians.”