Trump supporters gather before fundraiser in Newport Beach

Several hundred supporters of former President Trump gathered in Newport Beach early Saturday morning, cheering the presumptive GOP presidential nominee and screaming after spotting his motorcade en route to an exclusive fundraiser on Harbor Island, shortly before 1 p.m.

Many in the crowd saluted and chanted, “Donald!” Donald! ” as the row of blacked-out SUVs crossed the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Jamboree Road. The song “God Bless America” blared in the background.

Earlier, as people waved flags that read “Trump 2024” and a banner that read “Never Surrender!” and “We stand united with Trump!” Andrea Flores, 49, of Rancho Santa Margarita, stood in a corner, wearing a red Trump baseball cap and chatting with another supporter, periodically interrupting her conversation to applaud honking passersby. A song with the lyrics “Trump, President Trump, he’s the only one who can get the job done” plays over a loudspeaker.

“I wish people would let go of the hatred they have for him and do what’s best for the country,” Flores said. “There are only two candidates at the moment – ​​one who can’t walk or talk and one who they hate – you have to pick your poison.”

Flores, a Republican, said the economy and borders were among her top issues this election. As for Trump’s recent conviction, several supporters in the crowd, including Flores, said the charges were “politically motivated.”

Saturday’s event was the final stop of a three-day fundraising trip to California – his first forays with donors after a New York jury found him guilty of 34 counts of tampering business records relating to approximately $130,000 in payments to adult film actor Stormy Daniels, who claims she had sex in Lake Tahoe during a golf tournament, in an attempt to influence the presidential election from 2016.

Trump is trailing President Biden in fundraising, both nationally and in California. And Democrats are also spending time in the state fundraising: Vice President Kamala Harris has held at least three fundraisers this week. Biden is leading a major fundraiser next weekend with former President Obama and actors George Clooney and Julia Roberts.

Friday and Saturday, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Gov. Gavin Newsom was among the speakers at a fundraiser for Democratic congressional candidates at the Lodge at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, about 70 miles south of Trump’s event in Orange County.

Trump has received an infusion of cash since the verdicts were announced on May 30. Notably, he said he raised $53 million in the 24 hours after the trial ended and $18 million at fundraisers in San Francisco and Beverly Hills during that period.

On Saturday, donors spent up to $100,000 to attend the Newport Beach panel discussion and luncheon at a Harbor Island mansion overlooking Newport Bay — the cheapest tickets of the trip. A line of well-dressed people, some sporting red, white and blue, waited for vans to transport them from the Hyatt Regency to the fundraiser Saturday morning.

Donald Holly Sr., 82, woke up Saturday morning with butterflies in his stomach. It would be his first time seeing Trump, and the Fullerton resident was thrilled. He brought a bottle of seltzer to settle his stomach as he approached the hotel. His son Richard Holly, 56, followed close behind, brushing his father’s suit with a lint roller to clean out any strands of cat hair.

“I totally admire and admire Donald J. Trump, a very successful businessman,” Donald Holly Sr. said. “He just knows how to run a business and certainly knows how to run a country. Just look at what we had and as far as inflation goes, no world wars – everything was fine from 16-20.

Trump also wouldn’t have ruined the exit from Afghanistan, he said, referring to the chaotic 2021 withdrawal of U.S. troops under President Biden.

The Hollys own Brea Electric, which Yorba Linda resident Richard Holly is now passing down to his children, the fourth generation of Hollys to run the small Orange County business. According to Richard Holly, part of the reason he supported Trump was the former president’s support for small business and family values.

“We are here because we love the traditional conservative family values ​​that we grew up with,” Richard Holly said. “California is different than it was when I was a kid.”

Trump supporters in Newport Beach on Saturday. Former president attends fundraiser.

(Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times)

The Newport Beach fundraiser takes place on Harbor Island, one of this coastal enclave’s most exclusive neighborhoods, filled with waterfront mansions and residents who have high expectations of privacy.

The event is expected to take place at the home of health insurance company co-founder John Word and his wife, Kimberly, whose home appeared to be decorated with red, white and blue banners on the sea wall and along the doors and windows of the property. Billionaire tech entrepreneur Palmer Luckey, who lives on the neighboring island of Lido, was a co-host of the event..

On Friday evening, Trump headlined a fundraiser held at the Italianate mansion of Lee Samson, a longtime philanthropist and board member of the Republican Jewish Coalition, in Beverly Hills. He has hosted numerous fundraisers for Republican politicians over the years, including one for Trump in 2019 that raised $5 million and another in 2020 with the then-president’s daughter Ivanka supporting his re-election which raised $2 million.

Donald Trump waves to supporters as he leaves a home Friday where a fundraiser for his campaign was being held in Beverly Hills.

Donald Trump waves to supporters as he leaves a home Friday where a fundraiser for his campaign was being held in Beverly Hills.

(Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times)

Nearby, a Burbank artist arranged a birthday message for the former president, who turns 78 on Friday. A few dozen supporters waved flags outside the event, including one featuring a QAnon conspiracy theory referencing a canard that John F. Kennedy Jr. is still alive, as some neighbors watched the spectacle from afar.

Tickets for Friday’s event cost up to $250,000 per person, and the event raised $6 million for his 2024 campaign, Trump told the crowd, according to attendee Gregg Donovan, 64 years old, from Santa Monica.

Donovan, dressed in his uniform of red tailcoats and black top hat from his former role as THE Goodwill ambassador from Beverly Hills, said he was driven to buy a $5,000 ticket because seeing Trump’s re-election bid in person “was history in the making.”

The longtime Trump supporter said he was alarmed by Trump’s conviction because “if it can happen to him, it can happen to anyone.”

He said he expects Trump to win in November, in part because among his friends, Trump has more support than in 2020 — particularly among immigrants who are angry about the situation at home. US-Mexico border.

After Trump was introduced by the governor of North Dakota. Doug Burgum — reportedly among those selected as potential vice presidential candidates — and Samson, the former president, spoke for about 45 minutes and promised on their first day in the Oval Office to secure the border and “drill , baby, drill.” » said Donovan.

Samson is the founder of Windsor Healthcare Management, one of the largest providers of skilled nursing and rehabilitation care in California and Arizona. One of the group’s facilities was accused in 2020 of pressuring patients to move so it could accept more lucrative patients during the pandemic, according to the New York Times.

A spokesperson for Windsor Park Care Center in Fremont, where the incident allegedly took place, declined to comment to the newspaper, but Samson told him: “Regardless of my political affiliation, Windsor’s commitment to protecting its residents will never be compromised. »

The re-election campaign of President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris has seized on the allegations.

“If you want to know who Donald Trump is fighting for, just look at who he spends his time with: crooks, criminals – and… in this case, a billionaire who has kicked elderly people out of his homes pension during a deadly pandemic to protect his own account. own pockets,” said Sarafina Chitika, a campaign spokesperson. “Trump is making it clear to America’s seniors that if he wins in November, he will happily sell them out to his billionaire donors – destroying Social Security and Medicare while handing out tax cuts to his wealthy and extremist allies. “

The fundraising evening ended relatively early because many guests were Jewish and had to go home for Shabbat, Trump said, according to Donovan. Attendees in cocktail dresses and suits spilled onto the quiet Beverly Hills street shortly before sunset.

As Trump’s motorcade left shortly before 8 p.m., Robin Dominguez, 67, tossed a sign into the air that read “TRUMP GUILTY” and, on the other side, “LOCK HIM.” She wore a red shirt that read in white letters: “Scare the racists again.”

A woman wearing a red MAGA hat shouted “shame on you” at Dominguez, then told her that if she didn’t like the United States, she should move to Venezuela. The window of a red SUV rolled down as we passed, and a preteen passenger shouted, “Hey, lady! Put up this sign. “The affair was illegitimate.”

A Donald Trump supporter stands outside a home in Beverly Hills on Friday.

A Donald Trump supporter stands outside a home in Beverly Hills on Friday.

(Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times)

Dominguez said many people told him Friday that Trump’s trial was a sham. But, she said, “How can it be a conspiracy when 12 people have all found him guilty?” »

In San Francisco on Thursday, Trump told donors at venture capitalist David Sacks’ Pacific Heights property that he had raised $12 million. The senator from Ohio. JD Vance, another elected official reportedly on Trump’s potential list of running mates, was among his introducers at the event that cost up to $300,000 for tickets and up to $500,000 for couples.

“He said if there was no cheating, I would win this election today,” said Harmeet Dhillon, a San Francisco lawyer whose firm represents the Trump campaign and attended the fundraiser . “But there is cheating so we have to be vigilant. He explained that this time we would do things differently, that we had a lot of smart lawyers and volunteers and things like that.

Leave a Comment