President Donald Trump’s Tuesday, Sept. 17, lunch-dinner-breakfast-lunch fundraising blitz was expected to raise $15 million from wealthy Republicans in just two days, irritating celebrities and activists.
A Hollywood elite firestorm exploded last month as quickly as Trump’s trip to the Golden State during Emmy week was announced and “Will and Grace” star Debra Messing suggested that anyone participating in funding activities should be openly identified and shamed. That led Trump to call Messing an actress with racism and McCarthyism, reported by Fox News.
“There’s not been a president in living history that is as unpopular in the state of California as Trump,” said Mike Madrid, a GOP political consultant who is an outspoken Trump critic. “But our money spends the same as everyone else’s.”
The president kicked off his money making Tuesday with a $3 million Bay Area luncheon, followed by a $5 million Beverly Hills dinner at the home of developer Geoffrey Palmer. He’ll bring in an additional $7 million on Wednesday with a breakfast in Los Angeles and luncheon in San Diego before visiting a section of the border wall.
Republican National Committee member Harmeet Dhillon of California said about 400 guests attended the fundraiser at the home of Sun Microsystems co-founder Scott McNealy, where the president spoke for about 45 minutes then took questions from the crowd.
“By showing up to a fundraiser deep in the belly of the beast, one is saying: ‘I don’t care what the liberal politicians are saying and I want to show my support for him publicly,’” said Dhillon, an ardent Trump supporter who said she lined up four tables of donors for the Silicon Valley event.
She said the president’s stopover delivered a jolt of energy for California Republicans, who live in a state where Democrats dominate state politics.
“It’s been amazing for morale. All the California Republicans … left energized,” Dhillon said.
“People think that to be conservative, you’ve got to be racist or rich,” 24-year-old Kenny Camacho, 24, told The Associated Press. “It’s the complete opposite—we’re a silent majority in this country that supports him.”
Talking to reporters aboard Air Force One, Trump got in some digs about the state’s problem with homelessness, saying, “We can’t let Los Angeles, San Francisco and numerous other cities destroy themselves by allowing what’s happening.”
“The people of San Francisco are fed up, and the people of Los Angeles are fed up. And we’re looking at it, and we’ll be doing something about it,” he added.
This week’s visit marks Trump’s fourth state visit during his presidency. Before going back to Washington, he is scheduled to visit a segment of the border wall in the San Diego-Tijuana region on Wednesday.
Includes reporting from the Associated Press