President Trump in MAGA hat
President Trump in a MAGA hat. Photo by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons

President Donald Trump attended a fundraising dinner for his re-election campaign in Beverly Hills and a private dinner at his Rancho Palos Verdes golf club during a slightly more than six-hour visit to the Los Angeles area Friday.

The fundraiser at the home of health care executive Lee Samson drew “a packed house” and raised $4 million, Republican National Committee member Shawn Steel told KCAL9.

“That shocked everybody because it was just kind of word of mouth and was very, very sudden,” Steel said.

The goal had been to raise $2 million, Steel said.

There was no immediate response to an email sent to officials at the White House, Republican National Committee and Trump re-election campaign seeking to confirm the figure.

Tickets were $15,000 for dinner, $50,000 for the opportunity to take a picture with Trump and $150,000 to participate in a roundtable discussion during the event, according to an invitation obtained by City News Service.

The  fundraiser was closed to reporters, as fundraisers at homes attended by presidents of both parties traditionally are.

Trump arrived at the home at 4:40 p.m. and left at 7:07 p.m.

The presidential motorcade arrived at Santa Monica Airport at 7:24 p.m., with Trump boarding Marine One, the presidential helicopter at 7:25 p.m. The helicopter left at 7:30 p.m. and landed at Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes at 7:47 p.m. where Trump had a private dinner, according to the White House.

The Washington Post reported Friday afternoon Trump’s son Eric was expected to attend the dinner, along with members of the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council and other friends and supporters.

Trump arrived at Los Angeles International Airport aboard Air Force One just before 4 p.m. after viewing a newly completed section of the border wall in Calexico. He greeted a crowd of supporters on the tarmac at LAX before stepping into Marine One for a short trip to Santa Monica Airport, where he arrived around 4:15 p.m.

The visit was Trump’s third to the Los Angeles area as president. He headlined a Republican National Committee fundraiser near Beverly Hills in March 2018. In November, he toured areas ravaged by the Woolsey Fire in Ventura and Los Angeles counties, then met with survivors of the mass shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks.

Barack Obama had made 21 visits to Los Angeles and Orange counties at the similar stage of his presidency, attending fundraisers during 18 of those visits.

— City News Service

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.