Trump supporters gather before fundraiser in Newport Beach

Several hundred supporters of former President Trump gathered in Newport Beach early Saturday morning, cheering the presumptive GOP presidential nominee and hoping to catch a glimpse of his motorcade en route to an exclusive fundraiser on Harbor Island.

As people waved flags that read “Trump 2024” and a banner that read “Never Surrender!” and “We stand united with Trump!” Andrea Flores, 49, of Rancho Santa Margarita, stood in a corner, wearing a red Trump baseball cap and chatting with another supporter, periodically interrupting her conversation to applaud while as passers-by honked their horns. . A song with the lyrics “Trump, President Trump, he’s the only one who can get the job done” plays over a loudspeaker.

“I wish people would let go of the hatred they have for him and do what’s best for the country,” Flores said. “There are only two candidates at the moment – ​​one who can’t walk or talk and one who they hate – you have to pick your poison.”

Flores, a Republican, said the economy and borders were among her top issues this election. As for Trump’s recent conviction, several supporters in the crowd, including Flores, said the charges were “politically motivated.”

Saturday’s event was the final stop of a three-day fundraising trip to California — its first forays with donors after a New York jury found him guilty of 34 counts of falsifying business records of about $130,000 in payments to adult film actor Stormy Daniels, who claims he had having sex in Lake Tahoe during a golf tournament, in an attempt to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Learn more: In Silicon Valley, support for Trump is starting to flow. Is this a big threat to Biden?

Trump has lagged behind President Biden in fundraising — both nationally and in California — but has received an infusion of cash since. the verdicts have been announced on May 30. Notably, he said he raised $53 million in the 24 hours after the trial ended and $18 million at fundraisers in San Francisco and Beverly Hills during that period.

On Saturday, donors spent up to $100,000 to attend the Newport Beach panel discussion and luncheon at a Harbor Island mansion overlooking Newport Bay — the cheapest tickets of the trip. A line of well-dressed people, some sporting red, white and blue, waited for vans to transport them from the Hyatt Regency to the fundraiser Saturday morning.

Donald Holly Sr., 82, woke up Saturday morning with butterflies in his stomach. It would be his first time seeing Trump, and the Fullerton resident was thrilled. He brought a bottle of seltzer to settle his stomach as he approached the hotel. His son Richard Holly, 56, followed close behind, brushing his father’s suit with a lint roller to clean out any strands of cat hair.

“I totally admire and admire Donald J. Trump, a very successful businessman,” said Donald Holly Sr. “He just knows how to run a business and certainly knows how to run a country. All you have to do is watch…

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