Trump Visits Los Angeles: The Public's Reaction
President Donald Trump visited Los Angeles for the first time in his presidency this Tuesday, March 13, longer than any president has taken to visit California since Franklin D. Roosevelt, according to The Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles residents reacted by organizing three protests throughout the day in different parts of Los Angeles County. The first one occurred right before President Trump landed down at the Santa Monica Airport at approximately 3:55 p.m., where a group of protesters awaited his arrival.
Before Trump had arrived at the airport, protesters filled the corners of the Ocean Park Boulevard and Centinela Avenue intersection, with many carrying signs sprawled with messages mostly in detest of the president's visit.
When asked why he attended the event, Jeff Vance responded by saying, “Traitor, protesting a traitor.” Although the group of approximately fifty people attended to protest Trump's visit, a few Trump supporters also attended, one of them being Danny Rodriguez. He took a day off of work in order to attend the protest, “Trump’s coming to town, I’m using a sick day.”
Traffic was at a standstill as Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers closed off Centinela Ave with police tape prior to the president's arrival. At around 3:55 p.m. a loud helicopter was heard in a distance, only becoming louder as it prepared to land at the Santa Monica airport --- the president was about to land in Los Angeles.
The event grew louder, as protesters and police officers both prepared for President Trump to make his way out of the airport via car. At approximately 4:05 p.m., an LAPD SUV made its way down Centinela Ave, which then followed with six black suburban SUVs. As Trump drove past the crowd in the third black SUV, protesters held their middle fingers up to the car. The streets of Santa Monica opened back up almost immediately after Trump's motorcade left the scene.
Following the first protest, The Beverly Gardens Park held the second organized protest of the day at 5 p.m. Hundreds of people gathered for the event, but the reasons for doing so varied. Raul Hinojlsa, a professor at the University of California Los Angeles, had a clear reason for attending the event. “It’s important to be part of a protest of a president, of the United States, to basically attack California, and that’s clearly what’s going on here.” Hinojlsa was referring to Trump looking at prototypes for building a wall along the United States and Mexican border while he was in San Diego, only hours before he arrived in Los Angeles. Hinojlsa continued to say, “[Trump] knows exactly that in this state he lost the popular vote, that he is not wanted, he’s not coming here to propose anything.”
Trump supporters also attended the protest, one being Kira Innis. She is a member of a group called Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), which is a “conservative-leaning civil rights group,” according to Innis. In reference to people asking Innis how she could support a “bigot or a racist” being a female of color, she said, “The thing I keep asking is someone please give me one actual, factual hard copy of proof that [Donald Trump] has ever been misogynistic… I don’t want to hear about locker room banter in the back of a bus, you know, with Billy Bush, every guy talks like that.” Regarding her support of Trump as the president, Innis went on to say, “He’s just someone who can be more sound in terms of leadership. [America has] not had leadership in eight years.”
Later in the Tuesday night, hundreds more gathered in downtown Los Angeles across the street from the Intercontinental Los Angeles Downtown Hotel where Trump was allegedly spending his night during his visit. The three corners of the S Figueroa St and W 7th St intersection surrounding the hotel filled with protesters that lined the metal security gates. There was a large police presence for the highly-secured event, preventing the general public from entering the hotel.
Just outside of the large crowd, on the south-east corner of the intersection stood protester Yessica Carpio. The 20-year-old, who migrated from Mexico to the USA when she was only a few months, had her own personal reasons for attending the event, “I gotta protest, not only for me and my community but my mother as well.” Carpio is now a US citizen, but her mother is not. For Carpio, attending the event was a way to stand up for those who have been negatively affected by Trump's presidency.
President Donald Trump's day in Los Angeles caused not only a massive increase in the already congested city but also in the number of LA residents who took part in these three protests. The president left the city early in the following morning on March 14 at around 9:00 a.m.