Protesters on eve of Trump visit: 'You want to mess with California? Well, bring it on'

Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Political News

LOS ANGELES -- Immigrant, labor and LGBTQ rights activists said President Donald Trump represented the antithesis of California's values and was not welcome in the state, as they rallied Monday on the eve of his first presidential visit.

"We welcomed all the presidents that have come before him to this great state, but what we will not welcome are seeds of division and hate. What we will not welcome is racism," said Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights. "We have a president who has decided to advance a racist agenda that denies people their most basic human dignity and rights, and we are not about that in California."

Trump is scheduled to view prototypes of his proposed border wall, address members of the military and headline a high-dollar fundraiser in Beverly Hills. He is expected to leave Wednesday.

When he was a candidate, Trump's visits to the state were frequently greeted with protests. Activists are organizing demonstrations to greet the president on Tuesday, but the locations Trump is visiting are difficult to reach or not being disclosed.

So scores of protesters held a rush-hour rally Monday at a park on Santa Monica Boulevard in the heart of Beverly Hills, carrying banners with pictures of clenched fists that said "Migrant Resistance." Others carried signs that read "Our CA Values Trump Hate" and "Nobody Likes You (President) Stephen Miller!" as they chanted, "The people united will never be divided." Korean-Americans pounded drums to open the rally. State Treasurer John Chiang and state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon were among the attendees.

"Don't just visit Beverly Hills or your little wall prototypes. Take the time to see and learn about the greatest state in the nation," de Leon said, offering to take Trump on a tour of Los Angeles' ethnic neighborhoods ending with a stop at his favorite taco stand in Lincoln Heights "to see if (Trump) can handle the heat. ... Because whether you like it or not, California is the future of America."

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Much of the ire was aimed at Trump's immigration policies, and the uncertainty surrounding "Dreamers," young people who were brought into the country illegally when they were children. Two Dreamers spoke publicly during the rally.

"Trump, I have a message for you that I want you to hear loud and clear. My mother and I are not red meat for your base," said Yamilex Rustrian, a woman in her early 20s who was brought to this country as a child after her father was killed in Guatemala. "You want to mess with California? Well, bring it on. We are ready."

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