BURBANK (CBSLA) – Vice President Mike Pence arrived in Los Angeles Saturday afternoon for a private tour of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, followed by two political fundraisers in Malibu and Beverly Hills Sunday.
Pence’s plane touched down at Hollywood Burbank Airport from Washington, D.C. at about 2:45 p.m. He took a private tour of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena at 3:20 p.m., according to the White House. Pence is the chairman of the National Space Council.
“Karen and I are wheels up to California!” Mr. Pence tweeted Saturday. “Looking forward to visiting @NasaJPL later this afternoon.”
The visit comes one week before the launch of NASA’s next mission to Mars — Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Godesay and Heat Transport (InSight). The mission will be the first to peer deep beneath the Martian surface, studying the planet’s interior by measuring its heat output and listening for marsquakes, seismic events similar to earthquakes.
InSight will be the first planetary mission to take off from the West Coast, launching from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc.
As CBSLA’s Jeff Nguyen reports, supporters and opponents of the Trump Administration clashed outside of Pence’s JPL visit in Pasadena.
A dozen demonstrators yelled chants against Pence as his motorcade entered the JPL facilities.
The group Refuse Fascism says Pence and the Trump Administration don’t represent science.
“They pose a real danger to the environment,” said demonstrator Michelle Xia.
Before Pence’s arrival things got testy when a woman felt the demonstrators were disruptive to a nearby horse show.
The Sheriff’s Department had to step in to keep things from boiling over.
“These snowflakes are kind of disrupting and it’s ticking me off,” said Trump-Pence supporter Ricky McElwe.
Pence was staying overnight at the Kimpton Everly Hotel in Hollywood. Nguyen reported that there was a massive security operation outside the hotel, including a bomb sniffing dog checking cars as they headed into the hotel.
John Matthews noticed concrete barriers going up in his neighborhood Saturday morning.
“I walked up to one of the cops and said ‘hey, what’s up.’ He said a dignitary is in town so I went to Twitter and then found out that Pence was flying in,” said Matthews.
Pence and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy will headline a fundraising brunch at noon Sunday at the Malibu home of lawyer and financier Marc Stern and his wife, Eva, according to an invitation posted on the political news website Politico.
Tickets for the event start at $10,000 per couple, according to the invitation. Other ticket packages are available for $25,000, $50,000 and $100,000 per couple.
Some of those packages also include tickets to a roundtable discussion with Pence scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday at an undisclosed location in Beverly Hills.
According to the invitation obtained by Politico, the events will benefit “Protect the House,” a fundraising collaboration that includes Pence’s Leadership PAC and the National Republican Congressional Committee to benefit 20 Republican House members considered “vulnerable” in the November midterm elections.
McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, is considered a strong contender to replace the retiring Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, as Speaker of the House.
On Monday morning, Pence will visit Calexico to inspect the construction of a barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border. He is also expected to speak to Department of Homeland Security and Border Patrol employees.
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