Why Are There Trump Protesters in California?

by Lauren Barbato

Hundreds of protesters turned out this week to attempt to block Donald Trump from his rallies in California, where the GOP front-runner is busy campaigning in advance of the June 7 primary. Prior to the California Republican Convention in Burlingame Friday, protesters shut down the street leading to the Hyatt Regency Hotel, causing Trump to hilariously leave his motorcade on Highway 101 and jump a concrete median. The night before, anti-Trump protesters flooded the streets outside the OC Fair and Event Center in the heavily Republican Orange County town Costa Mesa and allegedly damaged cars in the area. The Los Angeles Times reported that 17 people were arrested Thursday night following the Costa Mesa rally.

At both anti-Trump demonstrations, protests against the presidential candidate's hateful rhetoric were strong. Many of the protesters, particularly in Southern California, were Latinos waving Mexican flags and speaking out against Trump's anti-immigration policies, including his promise to erect a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Protesters chose to bring out the Mexican flag to demonstrate their culture and not their nationality,” David B. Villanueva of the Santa Ana-based group Chicanos Unidos told the Los Angeles Times Thursday night. “In this election year, I find the fact that people are waving Mexican flags more important than people waving American flags because of the diversity within our own American culture.”

CNN reported that there was also a large Mexican-flag-waving contingent among the protesters outside the California Republican Convention on Friday. California has the largest Hispanic population out of the 50 states, and Latinos currently make up the largest single racial and ethnic group in the state, according to the Pew Research Center. It's no surprise, then, that Trump and his anti-immigration, anti-Latino speech — which is largely directed at Mexicans and Mexican-Americans — did not receive a warm welcome in the Golden State.

"I came out here to support my people and my father," protester Adrian Olivares told CNN on Friday. "He's very successful. And for Trump to come out and say we're just a bunch of rapists, f--- him."

Olivares' statement mocks Trump's previous remarks about undocumented citizens, who he said were rapists and murderers. There was also a Donald Trump piñata or two flying high outside the Burlingame hotel, where Trump later doubled-down on his harsh anti-immigration policies.

The rallies in Costa Mesa and Burlingame also brought out topless demonstrators — women who surely have just loaded up on their so-called women cards. (Trump this week once again made headlines when he accused Hillary Clinton of playing the "woman card" in garnering support among half the American population.) These topless women called for gender equality and freedom, not sexist policies and hate.


Trump fired back at his California protesters on Twitter on Saturday, calling them "thugs" and "criminals." The demonstration outside his Costa Mesa rally did turn violent, though it's unclear if the violence and vandalism was caused solely by the anti-Trump protesters.