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Trump's divisive first day in California

Joe Mozingo, Melissa Etehad and Andrea Castillo, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

LOS ANGELES -- President Donald Trump spent his day in California perusing border wall samples, needling state officials, raising money and upholding a White House tradition: inciting traffic so bad it gets a name.

Obamajams made way for "Make America Late Again" on Tuesday, as Trump paid his first visit to California -- a rogue state in his eyes -- since he won the election in 2016.

It was a trip that brought out his most ardent lovers and haters, with enough law enforcement and barricades to keep them from assaulting each other -- at least as of Tuesday evening.

At the Marine Corps Air Station in Miramar, he elicited laughs and applause as he ripped the media and proposed a new "Space Force" to wage war in space.

In the Los Angeles area, he was met with vitriolic protest signs and all manner of ridicule, such as "Chicken Don," an inflatable chicken with orange hair meant to mock him as a coward.

When Marine One landed at Santa Monica airport, people flipped the middle finger at the helicopter or chanted "no Trump, no KKK, no Fascist USA!" For many demonstrators, this was the first time they could register their anger directly at him.

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Others came to witness the spectacle and a small piece of history. Carlos Jimenez brought his 4-year-old son to the airport just to see a president. "Regardless of political party, it's still the president," Jimenez said. "It's an experience."

In a deep blue part of a blue county, that was about as much support as could be found.

Susan Diamond, 49, wanted to show her 12-year-old son that free speech is important. "We came to protest and show him that our values are different from this president," she said.

Her son was more taken with Marine One. "I like the way they take off," he said.


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