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President Trump Visits San Diego, Border Wall Near Tijuana
Protesters Fly Baby Trump Balloon Above Downtown
Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Photo by Alexander Nguyen
Protesters and supporters of President Donald Trump gathered downtown Wednesday near the U.S. Grant Hotel where the president held a fundraising luncheon for his 2020 reelection campaign.
The protesters gathered across the street in Horton Plaza Park holding signs decrying his presidency. A giant, baby Trump balloon was flown above the demonstrators in the park.
Supporters of the president were also in attendance, holding banners and flags, including one man wearing a brick-wall themed suit.
San Diego police warned residents ahead of time that large portions of downtown will be heavily congested during the president’s visit. They also advised avoiding the areas bordered by Front St., Beech St., 7th Avenue and G Street
President Trump’s visit if his fourth to California during his presidency. Arriving Tuesday, he didn’t shy away from criticizing the state over homelessness, poverty, crime and gangs.
“We can't let Los Angeles, San Francisco and numerous other cities destroy themselves by allowing what's happening,” he lamented to reporters on Air Force One.
"The people of San Francisco are fed up, and the people of Los Angeles are fed up. And we're looking at it, and we'll be doing something about it," he added.
His trip is expected to rake in up to $15 million for his reelection campaign. Wednesday's luncheon is expected to raise about $4 million alone.
After meeting with donors downtown, Trump took a helicopter to Brown Field Municipal Airport in Otay Mesa. Shortly after three, his motorcade swept onto the dusty road that runs along the border fence.
Since Trump took office, the Department of Homeland Security has finished a 14-mile stretch of border wall replacement stretching from the ocean to here in Otay Mesa. The $147 million project replaced a much shorter fence made of surplus airstrip landing mats from the Vietnam War.
Trump’s last visit to Otay Mesa was in March 2018 to review prototypes for possible border walls. Those prototypes were knocked down earlier this year to build the replacement fence. None of the prototype designs were chosen by DHS to be used as part of the replacement fence.
On his way to the border fence today, Trump tweeted an announcement in English and rough Spanish, that there would be “No More Illegal entry Into The United States,” featuring himself and the backdrop of the border fence.
At the fence, Trump complimented Mexico on its recent efforts to stem migration to the southern border of the United States.
"The Mexican soldiers have been incredible, they’ve really been doing a good job," the president said.
He also signed the wall along with construction workers.
He is also slated to visit a section of the border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border near Tijuana.
Earlier this year the administration began working on replacing the second layer of wall, also 14 miles long. It covers the area where Trump built eight wall prototypes that were knocked down. The 30-foot-high steel bollards replace a steel-and-mesh barrier that worked like a fortress when built more than a decade ago but now often breached with powerful battery-operated saws that were only recently made available at home-improvement stores.
The Associated Press also contributed to this report.
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