Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump made a quiet, lightning-fast visit to California’s Central Valley on Tuesday, listening to local concerns about federal water policy, which continues to divert water from farms to an endangered fish.
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) told the Fresno Bee that Trump is “our best chance to improve the water situation here in the Valley, and he is certainly better than any of the other candidates,” including President Barack Obama and prior contenders.
— Tony Cabrera (@TonyABC30) August 30, 2016
Trump had planed the visit a month before, speaking to 250 supporters at a fundraiser at a private home in Tulare, where he reportedly raised $1.3 million — an amount, the Bee notes, that could set “a new record for a political event in the Valley.”
It was not Trump’s first encounter with the water issue. In May, he told a rally in Fresno: “We’re going to solve your water problem. You have a water problem that is so insane. It is so ridiculous where they’re taking the water and shoving it out to sea” to save “a certain kind of three-inch fish.”
The fish in question is the Delta smelt, which environmental groups say is threatened by increased salinity in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. However, other factors may also play a role in the species’ declining numbers, and the Delta smelt has been successfully bred in captivity, so it will not disappear entirely. Meanwhile, farms lie fallow in drought, and farmers pump groundwater out of local aquifers, causing ground subsidence.
Locals lined the streets of Tulare to welcome Trump, with a handful also protesting his visit. “”I don’t want him to be elected,” one told the Bee. “I have some Republican friends, and he doesn’t even support their values.”
— ABC30 Fresno (@ABC30) August 31, 2016
The visit had been kept quiet, as had a visit to Los Angeles the night before. Trump was in Tulare for only a few hours before flying to Washington for a rally.
On Wednesday, Trump will visit the President of Mexico, then return to deliver a speech on illegal immigration in Arizona.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.