President Donald Trump made a roughly three-hour fundraising visit to the Coachella Valley Wednesday, speaking to supporters who paid thousands of dollars for a chance to hear from the commander-in-chief and play golf at the Rancho Mirage estate of Oracle chairman Larry Ellison.
Air Force One landed at Palm Springs International Airport at about 10:40 a.m., and a handful of supporters on the tarmac cheered as Trump emerged from the plane and walked toward them. Trump greeted the group, shook hands and posed for some photos as the small crowd broke into a chant of “Four more years!”
Trump then climbed into the fortified limousine dubbed “The Beast” for a motorcade to Rancho Mirage. Onlookers dotted the route, with his supporters waving signs with slogans such as “Trump Landslide.” His detractors flashed signs of their own, including one that read, “Lock Him Up.”
The private event at Ellison’s nearly 250-acre secluded estate was a fundraiser for Trump Victory, which is a “joint fundraising committee authorized by and composed of Donald J. Trump for President Inc. and the Republican National Committee,” according to White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere.
Donors had the chance to snap pictures and attend a roundtable discussion with Trump for a $250,000 donation. A lower tier of $100,000 included golf on Ellison’s private Porcupine Creek Golf Course and a presidential photo opportunity. He also spoke at a luncheon before returning to the airport, from which Air Force One departed at 1:50 p.m. en route to Bakersfield.
Joy Miedecke, president of East Valley Republican Women Federated, said several hundred locals stood along roads adjacent to the airport “hoping to catch a glimpse of him” when he arrived Wednesday morning.
The group also saw Trump off to the airport at a gathering near Indian Trail and Highway 111. Local Republicans also gathered for a “flag rally” at the corner of Washington Street and Highway 111 in La Quinta.
At least three anti-Trump protests were planned in Rancho Mirage in conjunction with Trump’s visit. Social media posts from Highway 111 in Rancho Mirage showed several Riverside County sheriff’s deputies clad in riot gear, patrolling the street, but there were no reports of any disturbances.
Democratic National Committee spokesman John Weber issued a statement Tuesday calling Trump’s Southern California fundraising swing “shameful.”
“Just after proposing devastating cuts to California families’ Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, Donald Trump is spending time with the only Californians he’s ever cared about: ultra-wealthy donors,” Weber said.
After his appearance in Bakersfield, Trump is scheduled to travel to Phoenix for an evening campaign rally.