SAN DIEGO (CBSLA/AP) — On his first visit to California since winning the election, President Donald Trump on Tuesday inspected border wall prototypes on display in Otay Mesa amid peaceful protests but growing tensions between his administration and the state over immigration enforcement.
Chanting “No ban! No wall!” demonstrators were cheered on by honking cars and buses at the San Ysidro port of entry in San Diego, the nation’s busiest border crossing.
Trump appeared engaged as he was briefed on eight towering prototypes, including one with blue steel on top. He said he liked a fully concrete wall because it was the hardest to climb, but he noted that it needs see-through capability.
“You have to have see-through,” Trump told reporters. “You have to know what’s on the other side of the wall.”
“You could be two feet away from a criminal cartel and you don’t even know they’re there,” the president added.
Trump also responded to a question regarding the criticism his border wall has received from California Gov. Jerry Brown.
“I think Gov. Brown has done a very poor job running California,” Trump said. “They have the highest taxes in the United States. The place is totally out of control. You have sanctuary cities where you have criminals living in the sanctuary cities. And then the mayor of Oakland goes out and notifies when ICE is going in to pick them up.”
“I think the governor is doing a terrible job running the state of California,” he reiterated.
Gov. Brown responded to the critical “shout-out” on Twitter by touting California’s economy.
After viewing the wall prototypes in an area of the border heavily cordoned off and far from the rallies on the U.S. side, addressed the military at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar before flying to Los Angeles and attend a high-dollar fundraiser in Beverly Hills. The fundraiser is expected to take place at the home of Tampa Bay Buccaneers Owner Ed Glazer, TMZ reports.
Air Force One landed in Los Angeles International Airport about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday. The president got off the plane and with an umbrella in steady but light rain, walked across the tarmac and got onto Marine One to continue his trip.
He will likely spend the night at an as-yet unidentified hotel in downtown Los Angeles, where several streets have been closed off in preparation. The closures will last through 1 p.m. Wednesday.
The visit — Trump’s first to the state as president — coincided with an escalating battle between his administration and the liberal state, which Democrat Hillary Clinton easily carried in the 2016 presidential election.
California officials have defiantly refused to help federal agents detain and deport immigrants in the U.S. illegally, and the Justice Department sued the state last week over three of its immigration laws.
Last week, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, speaking in Sacramento, said that the Justice Department is suing California because state laws are preventing federal immigration agents from doing their jobs.
Sessions claimed several California’s laws are unconstitutional and a “plain violation of common sense.”
In October, Brown signed Senate Bill 54, the sanctuary state legislation that extends protections for immigrants living in the United States illegally.
The bill took effect Jan. 1. Under it, police are barred from asking people about their immigration status or participating in immigration enforcement activities. Jail officials are only allowed to transfer inmates to federal immigration authorities if they have been convicted of certain crimes.
Trump Tuesday tweeted about California’s immigration policies as he flew to the state aboard Air Force One.
“California’s sanctuary policies are illegal and unconstitutional and put the safety and security of our entire nation at risk. Thousands of dangerous & violent criminal aliens are released as a result of sanctuary policies, set free to prey on innocent Americans. THIS MUST STOP!” he wrote.
This isn’t Trump’s first visit to the border. He traveled to Laredo — one of Texas’ safest cities — weeks after declaring his candidacy in June 2015.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)