President Trump paid a visit to Los Angeles on Tuesday, as part of a West Coast fundraising swing expected to raise $15 million.
Trump is set to appear at a dinner at developer Geoffrey Palmer’s house in Beverly Hills, where tickets range from $1,000 to $100,000 for VIPs. Though set in Hollywood’s backyard, the event was not expected to draw many celebrities. Trump’s supporters in L.A. come largely from the worlds of real estate, law and finance, according to contribution reports.
Politico reported earlier on Thursday that Mel Gibson might appear, but the actor’s rep said that he would not attend.
The fundraiser stirred controversy late last month, when actress Debra Messing asked for a list of all attendees. Her “Will & Grace” co-star Eric McCormack also chimed in, saying he wanted a list so “the rest of us can be clear about who we don’t wanna work with.” Trump feuded with Messing on Twitter for a few days afterward, and his supporters see it as another case of liberal Hollywood run amok.
“She’s the reincarnation of Sen. Joe McCarthy,” said Steve Frank, the editor of California Political News and Views. “It’s very sad when people who complain about blacklists then decide when they’re in charge they want to create a blacklist… As an American you have every right to support the candidate you want, without fear of retribution.”
Air Force One landed at LAX around 4:10 p.m. A helicopter took him to the Santa Monica Airport, and a motorcade took him to the event. The Beverly Hills Police Department closed portions of Sunset Boulevard and Benedict Canyon Drive. A handful of protesters gathered near the Beverly Hills Hotel, which is close to Palmer’s home.
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Trump will spend the night at a hotel downtown, and is expected to raise another $3 million at a breakfast fundraiser on Wednesday morning. He will then head off to a lunch in San Diego.
Earlier, aboard Air Force One, Trump focused on the homeless crisis, which has been a focus of conservative media in recent weeks.
“We can’t let Los Angeles, San Francisco and numerous other cities destroy themselves by allowing what’s happening,” he told reporters, according to the Washington Post. “The people of San Francisco are fed up, and the people of Los Angeles are fed up… We’re looking at it, and we’ll be doing something about it.”
The president also complained that the homeless are occupying the “best highways, our best streets, our best entrances to buildings… where people in those buildings pay tremendous taxes, where they went to those locations because of the prestige.”