SAN DIEGO (CN) – On Tuesday, President Donald Trump will a pay his first visit to California since taking office to personally inspect prototypes for his border wall steps away from the U.S.-Mexico border and attend a fundraiser in Beverly Hills where he is expected to be greeted by hundreds of protesters “resisting” his administration.
The visit marks Trump’s first visit to San Diego since he was a candidate on the stump in 2016. During his last visit, Trump famously remarked that U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, presiding over the Trump University class actions in the Southern District of California, was a “Mexican” who could not preside over the cases fairly. Trump settled the cases before his inauguration, an agreement recently upheld by the Ninth Circuit.
Those remarks about Curiel and Trump’s campaign promise to build a “big, beautiful wall” along the U.S.-Mexico border, has led to the Golden State earning a reputation as the incubator for the “resistance” against Trump’s administration.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has taken the Trump administration to court 28 times so far, including an environmental suit against the border wall over which Curiel is also presiding. He recently found in favor of the federal government, ruling environmental laws could be waived to speed up construction of the border wall.
But the federal government has fired back at California, suing the state last week over its sanctuary laws to protect undocumented immigrants.
Leaders across the state spoke out against Trump’s planned visit Monday, including U.S. Rep. Juan Vargas, D-San Diego, who joined dozens of protesters in San Diego’s historic Chicano Park to tell the president “he is not welcome in San Diego.”
Vargas, who represents the 51st District which he says “represents every inch of the border, from the ocean all the way to Arizona,” said the southern border “has now become a place where many, many people die as they come to search for a better life.”
“He’s pitting people against each other. He wants to spend $25 to $30 billion on a wall that will do absolutely nothing other than to lead to more deaths,” Vargas said.
“We have to resist, and California has done that well. We have to show him when he gets here tomorrow he’s not welcome. He would be welcome as our president if he stopped his racism.”
Vargas, who has voted twice to impeach Trump, told reporters he knew about “classified information” that would be used to impeach Trump related to Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election.
“This guy is going to get impeached. He’s violating the Constitution backwards, forwards and sideways. He’s the most irresponsible person I’ve seen in government,” Vargas said.
Trump is expected to visit the eight 30-foot tall border wall prototypes standing side by side in a dirt field steps away from the U.S.-Mexico border in the Otay Mesa area of San Diego, though White House officials remained tight-lipped about the field trip. The president is also scheduled to address military members at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar Tuesday afternoon before attending a private fundraiser in Beverly Hills.
Gov. Jerry Brown invited Trump in a letter Monday to visit the Central Valley to view bridges being built for the country’s first high-speed rail system.
“You see, in California, we are focusing on bridges, not walls. And that’s more than just a figure of speech,” Brown wrote.
A major political figure who has resisted Trump since his inauguration, Brown made the case for California’s bullet-train project and Trump’s lament that “we don’t have one fast train” in the United States like they have in Europe, Japan and China.
“Mr. President, in California we are trying to fix that. We have a world-class train system under construction. We invite you to come aboard and truly ‘Make America Great Again,’” Brown wrote.
Multiple protests are planned for Trump’s visit in San Diego, including one Tuesday afternoon by the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, which U.S. Senate candidate Kevin de Leon is expected to attend.
Other rallies planned for Tuesday include one by local Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, recipients and activists, and at least one pro-Trump rally by the group San Diegans for Secure Borders.