ɫ̳

Skip to content

Election |
Former President Trump talks economy and immigration at Newport Beach fundraiser

A multitude of supporters lined the streets along the motorcade's route through Newport Beach to cheer and wave at the former president.

Supporters of former President Donald Trump wave at his motorcade as it turns onto Pacific Coast Hwy in Newport Beach on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)
Supporters of former President Donald Trump wave at his motorcade as it turns onto Pacific Coast Hwy in Newport Beach on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)
Hanna KangClara HarterKaitlyn Schallhorn is a city editor with the Orange County Register. She previously served as the editor in chief of The Missouri Times, overseeing print, television, and newsletter coverage of the State Capitol. Throughout her career, Kaitlyn has covered political campaigns across the U.S., including the 2016 presidential election, and humanitarian aid efforts in Africa and the Middle East. She studied journalism at Winthrop University in South Carolina.
UPDATED:

Former President addressed a crowded fundraiser on ‘s Harbor Island Saturday afternoon, speaking to supporters about the economy and immigration, according to attendees.

About 400 people attended which was “packed with energy and enthusiasm for Trump,” said Michelle Hall, a Newport Beach resident who was among the guests.

  • Supporters of former President Donald Trump gather at the intersection...

    Supporters of former President Donald Trump gather at the intersection of Pacific Coast Hwy and Jamboree Rd. in Newport Beach on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Supporters of former President Donald Trump line the streets of...

    Supporters of former President Donald Trump line the streets of Newport Beach in anticipation of his visit for a fundraiser. (Photo by Erika I. Ritchie, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Supporters of former President Donald Trump gather at the intersection...

    Supporters of former President Donald Trump gather at the intersection of Pacific Coast Hwy and Jamboree Rd. in Newport Beach on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Supporters of former President Donald Trump line the streets of...

    Supporters of former President Donald Trump line the streets of Newport Beach in anticipation of his visit for a fundraiser. (Photo by Erika I. Ritchie, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Supporters of former President Donald Trump gather at the intersection...

    Supporters of former President Donald Trump gather at the intersection of Pacific Coast Hwy and Jamboree Rd. in Newport Beach on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Supporters of former President Donald Trump gather at the intersection...

    Supporters of former President Donald Trump gather at the intersection of Pacific Coast Hwy and Jamboree Rd. in Newport Beach on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Supporters of former President Donald Trump wave at his motorcade...

    Supporters of former President Donald Trump wave at his motorcade as it turns onto Pacific Coast Hwy in Newport Beach on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Supporters of former President Donald Trump gather at the intersection...

    Supporters of former President Donald Trump gather at the intersection of Pacific Coast Hwy and Jamboree Rd. in Newport Beach on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Supporters of former President Donald Trump gather at the intersection...

    Supporters of former President Donald Trump gather at the intersection of Pacific Coast Hwy and Jamboree Rd. in Newport Beach on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Supporters of former President Donald Trump gather at the intersection...

    Supporters of former President Donald Trump gather at the intersection of Pacific Coast Hwy and Jamboree Rd. in Newport Beach on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Supporters of former President Donald Trump gather at the intersection...

    Supporters of former President Donald Trump gather at the intersection of Pacific Coast Hwy and Jamboree Rd. in Newport Beach on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Supporters of former President Donald Trump gather at the intersection...

    Supporters of former President Donald Trump gather at the intersection of Pacific Coast Hwy and Jamboree Rd. in Newport Beach on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Supporters of former President Donald Trump wave at his motorcade...

    Supporters of former President Donald Trump wave at his motorcade as it turns onto Pacific Coast Hwy in Newport Beach on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Former President Donald Trump waves to supporters gathered at the...

    Former President Donald Trump waves to supporters gathered at the intersection of Pacific Coast Hwy and Jamboree Rd. in Newport Beach on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Former President Donald Trump spoke to a large gathering at...

    Former President Donald Trump spoke to a large gathering at a fundraiser on Newport Beach’s Harbor Island on Saturday, June 8, 2024. Pictured here is a podium where he spoke to attendees. (Photo courtesy of Parmis Khatibi)

of

Expand

“People are more behind him now than ever,” she said. “The harbor and the streets were packed with supporters.”

Several hundred supporters — who were not attending the luncheon, where tickets ranged from $3,300 to $100,000 — lined the streets of Newport Beach earlier Saturday in anticipation of the former president’s arrival.

Dressed in red, white and blue — some donning star-spangled top hats and large flags draped around their shoulders — ardent supporters, some of whom congregated for hours all along Jamboree Road and Bayside Drive, held up signs that read, “Welcome, President Trump” and “Trump 2024, Take America Back.”

It was a party-like atmosphere, with patriotic and classical music blaring and cheers ringing out for honking passing cars.

And those shouts only got louder as the former president’s motorcade rolled down Jamboree and Bayside around 12:40 p.m. Trump, from behind a closed window, waved at the friendly crowds.

The fundraiser, which came about a week after his felony conviction, was held at the sprawling Harbor Island home of John and Kimberly Word and jointly hosted by tech entrepreneur Palmer Luckey.

Attendees enjoyed steak, shrimp, rice and ceviche, said Hall, and Trump spoke about issues “impacting Americans the most.”

“They ranged from illegal immigration to overregulation, inflation and taxation,” said Hall.

“Orange County is excited to welcome President Trump back,” said Nikan Khatibi, another attendee. “We are looking forward to returning President Trump to the White House.”

“I left inspired and renewed in my confidence that the only choice for America and her allies throughout the world is President Donald J. Trump,” Khatibi, a Trump appointee to the National Cancer Advisory Board, continued, specifically pointing to Trump’s plans to address economic disparity and Iran.

For Michael Cooper, a Newport Beach resident among the crowds who came out to wave at the former president, actually catching a glimpse of Trump in the car was “super exciting.”

“He was waving,” Cooper, 55, said. “I loved coming out here and just showing support for the country and him, especially in light of all his legal woes. … It’s important to be here and cheer him on. We believe in him. He gives us so much hope for our future.”

Bryan Christoffersen was out on his boat off Harbor Island when Trump stepped outside the home holding the fundraiser.

“He waved and gave a thumbs-up,” the Dana Point resident said. “The electricity was amazing. The positive energy was everywhere and people were excited to see him. Everyone was waving American flags and people were so excited to see him.”

Christoffersen said there were hundreds of people on the water off Harbor Island. “People were on boats, dinghies, Duffys, kayaks, and paddle boards, ” he said.

Bayside Drive, from Jamboree Road to Pacific Coast Highway, was closed to motorists for much of the day, according to the city’s plans. Local residents could access the road, but only with proof of an address, like a photo ID or passport.

Trump left the fundraiser at about 3 p.m.

But earlier in the day, before the fundraiser, residents from Linda Isle, an exclusive community just feet from the bridge to Harbor Island, lined up outside their gates waiting for the former president’s arrival.

Among them was Casey Lloyd, who was excited to catch a glimpse of the motorcade.

“I’m here to support Trump,” he said, adding he thinks it’s important for everyone to vote for who they think is best. “I’m very excited to see so many people caring for America again. God bless us all.”

Nearby was Terry Shifflet, 53, of Eastvale.

“We’re Trump supporters, die-hard Republicans. Things are going the wrong way for our country,” said Shifflet, who wore a Make America Great Again hat. He said the recent felony conviction only made him want to show more support for Trump.

Part of an “Asians for Trump” group, Clare Chu said she came out to support “justice and good.”

“This country is going in the wrong direction,” said Chu.

Shortly after the president’s motorcade rolled through, much of the large crowds dissipated. But others stayed behind to purchase Trump-themed merchandise at a stand set up on the corner of Jamboree and Pacific Coast Highway.

Phyllis Friedman, 83, of Mission Viejo, made it a priority to get to Bayside Drive early.

“I’m here for the 80-year-olds,” said Friedman, who arrived at 8:30 a.m. in order to get a good glimpse of the motorcade. “I’m a Trump supporter. I like everything about him.”

And 24-year-old Danny Hannah said he has many like-minded friends in his age group who “were never interested in politics that are now getting into it to support Trump.”

“I want my future children to grow up in a country that’s theirs and has a future,” said Hannah, also a Mission Viejo resident.

But others came from all around Southern California, like Blake Marnell of San Diego and Dana Nordbeck of Riverside.

Dressed in what he called his “border suit” — it looked like brown and white bricks — Marnell, 59, journeyed to Newport Beach after attending a Trump event in Phoenix earlier in the week. He’s headed to Las Vegas on Sunday for another one.

“I like being around people who support President Trump,” he said. “Not everyone has an opportunity to talk politics where they work or with family. Here we can.”

While Orange County has turned from a longtime Republican stronghold to a true purple region — voter registration favors 37.4% to 33.6% and no Republican presidential candidate has won in Orange County since former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in 2012  — coastal Orange County remains an area in deep-blue California where GOP candidates could still find big success in collecting cash and support.

“West LA and coastal Orange County are top areas in the country for Trump fundraising, but they’ve been so for Republicans before Trump and will be after he’s left the scene,” said Matt Jarvis, an associate professor of political science at Cal State Fullerton.

Newport Beach, in particular, is top-friendly territory for Republicans.

Resident Tracy Arnold waited for hours to see Trump’s motorcade on Saturday — and she said the moment was worth it.

“Only in America can you stand on a street corner and be politically heard,” she said.

In Newport Beach, Republicans outnumber Democrats by nearly double, 47.7% to 25.7%, and the city has consistently ranked in the top few dozen that give generously to Trump.

In 2020, the 92660 ZIP code, where Trump held a fundraising event , was among the top 45 ZIP codes in the country where he received the most money. This year, Trump has so far raked in close to $400,000 in that ZIP code.

The former president, who turns 78 next week, is in the midst of his third bid for the White House. He and to shore up his campaign coffers.

The Beverly Hills event took place at the private residence of Lee Samson, a board member of the Republican Jewish Coalition and owner of a chain of nursing homes. He previously hosted Trump for a fundraiser in 2019 that raised $5 million.

Since Trump’s conviction in the hush money case last week, his campaign and the Republican National Committee have said they’ve seen an influx of donations.

Earlier this week, the campaign and RNC said they hauled in $141 million in May, attributing the support as a response to the verdict in Trump’s hush money trial. Other pro-Trump organizations brought in an additional $150 million in May, they said.

But Trump has also faced criticism for relying on donations to his campaign to pay for his expensive legal fees. According to some estimates, he has spent more than $100 million of donor dollars as of early 2024 to pay his lawyers.

It’s a unique situation, said Jarvis, the Cal State Fullerton professor, because the country hasn’t had a presidential candidate facing active indictments. Legality-wise, it’s a loophole, he said.

“I don’t think the law intended for this purpose for campaign spending, but the FEC hasn’t cracked down on it, and they probably can’t,” Jarvis said. “I’m positive that there’s no way the current Congress would update the law for this.”

Ethics-wise, Jarvis said he believes the fundamental question is: What is the purpose of campaign donations?

“It is wrong to spend money you are given for one purpose for another, yes. But, Trump’s campaigns have always been about Trump,” he said.

Trump travels next to Nevada for another fundraiser tonight. Hosted by construction tycoon Don Ahern at the Ahern Luxury Boutique Hotel, the Sunday evening event features a price tag ranging from a modest $1,000 to an eye-popping $844,600.

Originally Published:

This story has been updated.

More in Election