Trump in­spects border wall de­signs, crit­i­cizes Cal­i­for­nia

Visit greeted with protests for, against his planned wall.

The Palm Beach Post - - BACK OF THE FRONT - By Julie Watson and Jill Colvin

SAN DIEGO — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Tues­day ea­gerly in­spected eight tow­er­ing pro­to­types for his long-sought wall at the U.S.-Mex­ico border and ac­cused Cal­i­for­nia of putting “the en­tire na­tion at risk” by re­fus­ing to take tough ac­tion against il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion.

Trump, mak­ing his first trip to Cal­i­for­nia as pres­i­dent, said he pre­ferred a fully con­crete wall be­cause it was the hard­est to climb, but he noted that it needed to be see-through. He said the first thing he no­ticed on the drive to the border was the patched-up holes in part of the ex­ist­ing fence.

“We have a lousy wall over here now, but at least it stops 90, 95 per­cent,” Trump said. “When we put up the real wall, we’re go­ing to stop 99 per­cent. Maybe more than that.”

Trump’s visit was greeted with peace­ful protests by demon­stra­tors both for and against his planned wall. The trip came amid an es­ca­lat­ing bat­tle be­tween his ad­min­is­tra­tion and the lib­eral state, which has re­fused to help fed­eral agents de­tain im­mi­grants in the U.S. il­le­gally.

The pres­i­dent re­newed his crit­i­cism of Demo­cratic Gov. Jerry Brown, say­ing Tues­day that he was pre­sid­ing over sky-high tax rates and that the state’s sanc­tu­ary poli­cies “put the en­tire na­tion at risk.”

“They’re the best friend of the crim­i­nal,” Trump said. “That’s what ex­actly is hap­pen­ing. The crim­i­nals take refuge in th­ese sanc­tu­ary cities and it’s very dan­ger­ous for our po­lice and en­force­ment folks.”

The Jus­tice Depart­ment last week sued to block a trio of Cal­i­for­nia laws de­signed to pro­tect peo­ple liv­ing in the U.S. il­le­gally. Brown ac­cused U.S. At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions of “go­ing to war” with Cal­i­for­nia to ap­pease Trump.

Af­ter leav­ing the border, Trump basked in the cheers of U.S. Marines in Mi­ra­mar, point­ing to his work to build up the na­tion’s military. He also sug­gested there may some­day be a “space force” fight­ing along­side the na­tion’s military branches.

Ref­er­enc­ing his 2016 cam­paign show­down against Hil­lary Clin­ton — who re­ceived 4 mil­lion more votes than Trump in Cal­i­for­nia — the pres­i­dent vowed that “very soon we’re go­ing to Mars” and the na­tion would not be seek­ing to ex­plore the red planet had his op­po­nent won.

Trump was later at­tend­ing a high-dol­lar fundraiser in Los An­ge­les, where he’ll stay overnight.

Demon­stra­tions were held at the San Ysidro port of en­try in San Diego, the na­tion’s busiest border cross­ing, where protesters chanted, “No ban! No wall!” as honk­ing cars and buses cheered them on. Protests were also held on the Mex­i­can side, in Ti­juana.

At San Ysidro, Jose Gon­za­lez, 21, stopped to snap a photo of the protesters hold­ing signs, in­clud­ing one that read: “Wall off Putin!” in ref­er­ence to Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin, who has a seem­ingly close re­la­tion­ship with Trump.

“I don’t think it’s re­ally fair how he has the choice to sep­a­rate us,” said Gon­za­lez, a dual cit­i­zen who lives in Ti­juana and crosses the border daily to work at a San Diego ra­men restau­rant.

Army vet­eran Mark Pri­eto, 48, shook his head as he walked by the protest.

“Peo­ple are so nar­row-minded,” the River­side fire­fighter said as the crowd chanted. “Fi­nally we have some­one who is putting Amer­ica first.”

Trump was to be briefed on lessons learned from the con­struc­tion of the pro­to­types built in San Diego last fall. He was also to meet with border agents and of­fi­cers to ask what they need, Home­land Se­cu­rity spokesman Jonathan Hoff­man said.

San Diego’s Repub­li­can mayor crit­i­cized Trump’s planned short visit, say­ing the pres­i­dent won’t get a full pic­ture of the city. Kevin Faulconer said a pop­u­lar cross-border air­port ter­mi­nal con­nect­ing San Diego and Ti­juana shows that “build­ing bridges has worked wonders.”

Faulconer, writ­ing in The San Diego Union-Tribune, also said San Diego po­lice work to pro­tect ev­ery­one re­gard­less of im­mi­gra­tion sta­tus, an ap­par­ent dig at Trump’s push to tar­get il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion.

DAVID MCNEW / GETTY IM­AGES

Sup­port­ers of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump rally for the pres­i­dent dur­ing his visit to see border wall pro­to­types Tues­day in San Diego. The pres­i­dent said Tues­day that Cal­i­for­nia’s sanc­tu­ary poli­cies “put the en­tire na­tion at risk.”

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