President Donald Trump will make his first visit Tuesday to the State of California since taking office last year — and the state is bracing for his arrival, hot on the heels of the Department of Justice’s lawsuit against “sanctuary state” laws last week.
California was a frequent stop for Trump during his campaign — more so during the primary phase than the general election, when Trump focused on more likely targets. Like many Republicans, Trump’s main interest in California was financial: the state is home to many high-dollar conservative donors. And, indeed, one of Trump’s stops will be to Beverly Hills, where he will attend a Republican fundraiser.
But California has since acquired greater symbolic significance for Trump — and for his opponents. The state’s leaders have declared themselves the vanguard of the so-called “Resistance” — the contrived, romantic name Democrats have chosen for their post-2016 opposition effort. California has filed over two dozen lawsuits against the Trump administration, and the state’s dominant Democratic Party has become more and more left-wing as it has become more and more rabidly anti-Trump.
California is also where the Trump administration has erected the prototypes for its proposed border wall — and it is that site that will be the main focus of Trump’s excursion to the Left Coast. The wall was a central theme of Trump’s 2016 campaign and remains a key priority for the administration — if a somewhat delayed and attenuated one.
Pro-wall activists plan to stage a demonstration in support of Trump’s visit near the Otay Mesa site on Tuesday morning. But, as in the past, they will likely be joined by counter-demonstrators — and the two have clashed violently in the past.
The memory of anti-Trump riots — such as the melées in San Jose in June 2016, when left-wing activists chased and beat Trump supporters leaving a rally — has lived on in periodic flare-ups between various political groups, both mainstream and fringe, across the state.
California is also a key battleground in the 2018 midterm elections, as Democrats hope to pick up a significant number of congressional seat toward the minimum of 24 that they will need to take control of the U.S. House.
Trump’s visit is expected to be brief, but could be consequential — and dramatic. California awaits — and braces for impact.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.