By the time Donald Trump lands at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar north of San Diego on Tuesday, he will have been President of the United States for 59 weeks and four days. That’s the longest any president has gone without visiting the Golden State, outdistancing the previous record-holder, Franklin Roosevelt, who got here by train.
The visit comes one week after the Trump administration sued California over its sanctuary policies, just the latest in many political and legal skirmishes between Washington and California since Trump took office.
We know his first stop will be near the border with Mexico, where he’s expected to view prototypes for the border wall he’s promising to build, whether Mexico pays for it or not.
Then he’s off to Los Angeles for a Beverly Hills fundraiser Wednesday to benefit the Republican Party. There have also been unconfirmed rumors that Trump will add a Thursday trip to Fresno with Rep. Devin Nunes.
“We’re not privy to that,” said Mariann Hedstrom, chairwoman of the Tulare County Republican Party. “We’ll probably find out 10 minutes before it’s announced,” she said, stressing as far as she knows, it’s just a false rumor.
Here are five things to look for during Trump’s first trip to California:
- Who greets him on the tarmac? When President Barack Obama came to California, he was almost always greeted by local officials, such as the mayor, members of Congress or others hoping to get in the photo. With Trump as unpopular as he is in California, will San Diego Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer be there when Air Force One touches down? And if so, how long will he be with him? Faulconer opposes the border wall.
- Will the president and Gov. Jerry Brown meet? The governor has expressed some openness to seeing him, but given the recent levels of vitriol — Brown called the recent lawsuit part of a “reign of terror” against California — that seems unlikely. Given how much Trump seems to love drama, perhaps he’ll extend an invitation. Who knows?
- For a president known to prefer sleeping in his own bed (or at least a bed he owns), Trump is spending an extraordinary amount of time in California. What will he do with all that extra time? A round of golf at one of the many fabulous country clubs in Southern California is always possible (Note to Trump: Due to his ankle injury, Steph Curry is not available to play a round, as he often did with President Obama).
- How intense will anti-Trump protests be? There’s no shortage of groups the Trump administration has enraged, including environmentalists, legal cannabis promoters, the LGBTQ community, women and, of course, immigrants rights organizations and their supporters. You know they’ll be cooking something up.
- Does the Fresno rumor pan out? One Republican official blamed the Fresno Bee for spreading a false rumor, but think of all the tongues that would wag if the president and Devin Nunes hold a rally together in the Central Valley. It would be huuuuge.
On Monday the governor did send the president a letter inviting him to visit the Central Valley for a look at the bullet train now under construction there. It seems unlikely Trump will take him up on that, given Republicans, led by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), have derailed federal funding for the financially troubled project.