President Donald Trump arrived in San Diego on March 13 to review and inspect eight border wall prototypes. This is Trump’s first post-election visit to San Diego. Both Trump and anti-Trump supporters were present at his first appearance in San Diego, while campaigning as a presidential candidate in May 2016. Although peacefully awaiting his arrival, after his 2016 speech Trump supporters and anti-Trump groups mixed, several fights and riots broke out amongst the protests that followed his rally. Upon his recent visit, Trump was met with several protesters, however, none of the interactions were predominantly violent or aggressive.
In January 2017, soon after Trump was elected President, he had signed an executive order calling for “the immediate construction of a physical wall on the southern border, monitored and supported by adequate personnel so as to prevent illegal immigration, drug and human trafficking, and acts of terrorism.” As he promised his supporters, eight prototypes for the wall
have since been built, constructed in Otay Mesa. The prototypes, reaching a height from 18-30 feet, and constructed from materials ranging from steel to concrete have all been tested by trained agents of U.S. Customs and Border Protection for how easy they are to climb and break. All prototypes
have been approved as nearly impossible to climb or break through.
The wall prototypes were expected to attract large protests. The city of San Diego spent $50,000 on security supplies that included pepper spray and crowd-dispersing grenades, but only 15 people showed up to protest the prototypes in December. In November, a group of artists from the Overpass Light Brigade San Diego, People Over Profits San Diego, and UC San Diego graduate students projected ladders and other images, one of which depicted the Statue of Liberty saying “Refugees Welcome Here” onto the border wall prototypes. Upon visiting, Trump did not have much to say about the prototypes themselves besides their significance, while he did have a lot to say about the people who oppose his actions.
“For the people that say no wall, if you didn’t have walls over here, you wouldn’t even have a country,” Trump said. “There’s a lot of problems in Mexico. You could be two feet away from a criminal cartel and you don’t know they’re there.”
Trump returned to the Miramar Air Station and before departing for Los Angeles, he addressed several other potential actions, such as expanding the military force, and the proposal of a space force in addition to the air force.
“Space is a war-fighting domain just like the land, air and sea,” Trump said. “We may even have a space force.”
While in San Diego, Trump made quick remarks on Twitter about Governor Jerry Brown’s success in California.
“I think Governor Jerry Brown has done a very poor job at running California,” Trump tweeted. “They have the highest taxes in the United States, the place is totally out of control.”
Although the president’s visit only lasted the duration of a few hours, Trump’s visit proves successful as he fulfilled his presidential duties to inspect his wall prototypes. He immediately contacted congress to discuss funding.