President Trump encounters mixed reception of protesters, supporters during tour of Camp Fire destruction

ByCarlos Saucedo KGO logo
Sunday, November 18, 2018
Mixed reaction to Pres. Trump's NorCal wildfire tour
President Trump toured the disaster area in Paradise with state and local officials to get a better scope of the Camp Fire's destructive path.

PARADISE, Calif. (KGO) -- The gathering of high-profile figures from opposite ends of the political spectrum following a disaster is fairly common. But seeing President Donald Trump tour the Paradise fire zone along with Gov. Jerry Brown and Governor-Elect Gavin Newsom was still significant.

"I was encouraged to see, perhaps that politics and animosity that may exist, be put aside," said Butte County Sheriff-Coroner Kory Honea.

The unified gesture was not lost on him. Part of Honea's community was decimated by the Camp Fire.

"People come together for what's important and what's important is taking care of my people," Honea said.

RELATED: President Trump tours wildfire damage in Northern California, promises change

The focus of much of the president's visit was on the fire victims and first responders.

The president waved to dozens of people who lined the street to catch a glimpse. "We love Trump," said Deverie Jarrett of Chico, who was wearing a mask to protect from the poor air quality.

Among the Trump supporters in the crowd were protesters not happy with the presidential visit.

"I don't see any reason for him to come here," said Mica Stumpf of Oakland. She's been volunteering in the area after two of her friends lost homes in Paradise.

"The whole town is trying to mobilize to help people who had to evacuate and now all these resources are sent here to try to protect him," Stumpf said, referring to Trump's security detail.

Security was beefed up in and around the incident base for the presidential visit. Snipers positioned themselves high above to keep watch.

"This is not an event, this is a catastrophe," yelled one protester.

RELATED: Trump revives criticism over fires ahead of California visit

Shouting matches broke out between both sides. Caught in the middle were fire victims who lost everything. "Luckily my daughter, my family, were all off the hill, including myself, my sister," said Paradise resident Dan Bovee. "But we all lost our homes."

Bovee is a Trump supporter but thinks the president could have scaled back his initial criticism of forest management.

"I'm a little concerned that sometimes this is all theatrics. Once the smoke clears, once it's off the news media, people forget," cautioned Bovee.

Despite the scuffles, many agreed the focus should now be on helping the thousands of fire victims.

We have more information on the Camp Fire here.