Support rally, protest in San Francisco as Trump visits for campaign fundraiser

ByTim Johns, Lena Howland, Gloria Rodríguez, and Luz Pena KGO logo
Friday, June 7, 2024
Supporters, protesters greet former Pres. Trump outside SF fundraiser
Both groups gathered outside a private residence in San Francisco's Pacific Heights neighborhood on Thursday, where Trump attended a private campaign fundraising event.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Former President Donald Trump attended a fundraiser in San Francisco's Pacific Heights neighborhood Thursday and was met with supporters and protesters.

Earlier Thursday, Trump spoke at a town hall-style event in Phoenix. It's the first political rally since his conviction on 34 felony counts last week in his hush money trial.

Trump supporters hope to get glimpse of former president ahead of SF fundraiser

Trump supporters gathered at San Francisco's Marina Green, waving Make America Great Again flags and shouting "We love Trump."

Trump supporters gathered at San Francisco's Marina Green, waving Make America Great Again flags and shouting "We love Trump."

Nina Marley, Hayward resident: "Of course I'm waiting for Trump, are you kidding?"

Luz Pena: "Are you hoping to see him?"

Nina Marley: "Absolutely, that is why I've been sitting here already for a couple hours, waiting for the Trumpster."

San Francisco resident Travis Lewis said he became a Trump supporter three weeks ago. "There were blatant war crimes on one side. People that love war and bloodshed and then a man who simply wants to get the economy set back in order. I mean. No new wars with Trump," said Lewis.

Though Trump never stopped by, a giant inflatable 'Trump chicken' did, wearing a prison shirt.

The former President was convicted by a New York City jury one week ago of 34 charges in the "hush money" trial.

"We just felt it was important to come see for ourselves what was going to be going on out here," one supporter said.

David Propach, out of Monte Sereno, says he wanted to show there is still a conservative voter base in the Bay Area.

This, despite San Francisco giving Trump just 13% of the vote, the last time he ran for president and lost in 2020.

"It's true in California, it's difficult because we are 'outnumbered' although I'm not sure we're as outnumbered as we think we are," Propach said. "I'm more for people just being able to communicate again, and get together again, and discuss things again, that's all I'm interested in."

There were a few outnumbered counter-protesters but things remained peaceful for the most part, until the minute we stopped rolling on Propach's interview, when a man raced by on a bike, throwing a cup of what appeared to be pickle juice at Propach.

"Why can't we sit down and talk about stuff?" he said. "You can disagree but that's not how you show your disagreement, I'm sorry."

And by the time Trump's motorcade made its way through the city, this crowd had moved on, hoping for a closer view.

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"It's always exciting to be able to welcome President Trump to the Bay Area," said Dhillon. "I've had the privilege of riding in his presidential limousine when he came on his last visit. His last big fundraiser in the 2020 election cycle. Really looking forward to seeing him."

Dhillon believes several million dollars will be raised from the San Francisco event by business leaders who are dissatisfied with President Biden. "The crisis in this country in terms of the inflation. The open border, the violence. The labor restrictions, the lack of certainty about growing your business in this country. Threats have increased. Taxations," said Dhillon.

In 2020, Trump got nearly 13% of the votes in San Francisco. Experts believe he doesn't view that as a barrier.

"There is an image of California as a blue state, but there are actually more republicans in California than in any other state in the country," said Lanhee Chen, fellow at the Hoover Intitution at Stanford Unviersity. "Just given the size of the state and in the Bay Area, certainly the numbers of Republicans are smaller but it's a hardy group."

A week ago, Trump was convicted of 34 charges by a New York City Jury in the hush money trial.

"I think the recent verdicts in New York have only sort of fueled that fire. Those who oppose him are likely to be even more opposed to him and those who support him are even more strongly in his corner," said Chen.

Trump supporters who can't pay to be in the fundraiser are supporting from outside.

"I understand Trump wants this nation to come back to one piece, so that is why he keeps saying make America great again. So, I love him. I'm passionate about him, his agenda," said Ellen Lee Zhou, a Trump supporter who is also running for San Francisco mayor.

Dhillon anticipates the fundraiser could reach more than $10 million for former President Trump.

Mindy Pechenuk, a candidate running for Oakland City Council, is part of the group of Trump supporters who organized a rally to greet him at San Francisco's Marina Green Thursday afternoon. Presidents tend to arrive there in Marine One, though Trump was actually scheduled to be at a town hall in Phoenix at the time.

"This is a rally, just a group of us, men and women, citizens, we the people wanted to greet Trump, Donald Trump, coming to San Francisco and let him know our love is there, our support is there," Pechenuk said.

VIDEO: 33-foot-tall 'Trump Chicken' resurrected to greet Donald Trump during SF campaign fundraiser visit

Former President Donald Trump will be in San Francisco on Thursday for a fundraiser hosted by tech billionaires -- and a 33-foot-tall bird lookalike from his opponents will greet him.

Trump Chicken

On the other side, the organizers behind the inflatable "Trump Chicken" are bringing the bird out of retirement for Thursday's event.

Back in 2018, the chicken circled Alcatraz wearing a prison shirt.

Organizers of the anti-Trump inflatable are planning to set sail with the bird from Fisherman's Wharf on Thursday, passing by Alcatraz and the Marina Green.

Neighbor Armand Domalewski lives in Pacific Heights and is planning a protest when the former President is there. He says 50 people said they will show up and they're expecting that number to grow.

"Our neighborhood is extremely pro-choice. Our community stands for freedom, women's rights," Domalewski said. "They love America, and they love reproductive rights and Trump stands against all of that. And so the fact that this man is in our community and raising money here. I don't want people to think that we support that. I want him to know that he's not welcome here."

This Bay Area fundraiser comes less than a week after being convicted of 34 charges by a New York City jury in the "hush money" trial.

Supporters and protesters greet Trump outside SF fundraiser

Tensions were high at times between supporters and protesters of former President Donald Trump.

Both groups gathered outside a private residence in San Francisco's Pacific Heights neighborhood on Thursday, where Trump attended a private campaign fundraising event.

"I think it's very jarring for the Democrats not just to see that the President has a sold out fundraiser in Pacific Heights from tech folks largely," said John Dennis.

Dennis is the chairman of the San Francisco Republican Party.

He believes support for Trump is growing in the city and around the country.

A view shared by many of the Trump supporters who came out Thursday.

Rhonda Murray and her friends drove in from Sacramento to try and get a glimpse of the former President in his motorcade after touching down at SFO.

"We already see a perfect example of what's happening to our country under the current administration. We see what we had under his administration and we had that back desperately," Murray said.

But not everyone who came out Thursday agrees with that. A group of counter protesters were also present.

Many of them told us they believe Trump is unfit to be President once again, pointing to the criminal convictions against him from his recent New York trial.

MORE: Half of Americans think Trump's guilty verdict was correct, should end campaign: POLL

"Not everybody in Pacific Heights, and I think he is our felon-in-chief at this point," said one woman.

That group also includes Armand Domalewski.

Armand says despite the show of support for Trump Thursday, the Bay Area and California as a whole remain largely Democratic. A trend he believes will continue on election day in November.

"They came because they're devoted to their king, but I wanted to represent the values of the people that live here," said Armand.

Trump's 2016 visit to Bay Area

Trump's visit to the city comes despite the city's voter base being primarily blue.

Trump had nine percent of the vote in San Francisco during the 2016 presidential election against Hillary Clinton.

Many remember Trump's trek through fencing and dirt to get into the back entrance of a Burlingame hotel while trying to avoid protesters during a 2016 campaign stop on the Peninsula.

"We went under a fence and through a fence and oh boy, it felt like I was crossing the border actually," Trump said during his campaign stop in April of 2016.

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