U.S. President Donald Trump raises his fist as he arrives at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana on Oct. 18, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

President Donald Trump made an approximately 2 1/2-hour visit to Orange County Sunday for an early afternoon private fundraiser at tech mogul Palmer Luckey’s estate.

During the fundraiser, in Newport Beach, Trump participated in a roundtable discussion with supporters, then made a speech, according to the White House. The event was closed to reporters, like many high-priced fundraisers conducted by presidents of both parties.

Invitations for the fundraiser show tickets ranging from $2,800 for individual admission to $150,000 for a couple to attend and take a photo with the president. Ric Grenell, Trump’s former acting director of national intelligence, was also slated to attend.

The $2,800 figure comes from the donation limit for individuals in a presidential general election campaign. The higher ticket prices are legal because the money goes to the Republican National Committee and Republican state parties in battleground states.

Trump began his day in Las Vegas, where he attended a church service. Air Force One left Nevada and landed at John Wayne Airport at 11:36 a.m.

The motorcade arrived at the fundraiser at 12:11 p.m. and left at 1:46 p.m. Air Force One departed, bound for Reno, Nev., at 2:15 p.m. Trump was scheduled to speak at a rally in Carson City later Sunday.

Trump walked across the tarmac in Orange County at about 11:45 a.m. and greeted a crowd of approximately 200 enthusiastic supporters. They cheered and chanted “four more years,” and he chatted briefly with several. A man shouted out, “We love you.”

The president then left for the fundraiser via motorcade, passing a few hundred people, mostly supporters, including some with Trump flags, lining a street in Santa Ana. At least one person carried a sign supporting the Democratic ticket of former Vice President Joe Biden and California Sen. Kamala Harris.

As the motorcade drove through Newport Beach, thousands of Trump supporters lined the streets. The throng included people hoisting U.S. flags, Trump flags and Trump placards.

Many people wore “Make America Great Again” hats and other Trump apparel. Some chanted “USA” as the motorcade passed.

The motorcade passed a half-dozen Biden supporters holding a sign that read, “Honk if you vote Democrat.”

Outside of Luckey’s mansion, scores of people shouted disparaging comments about the news media to reporters covering the event. Several men yelled, “Fake news!”

A man called out: “Where’s Hunter!” and another yelled “The computer is real” – a reference to New York Post stories that an email showed Hunter Biden introduced his father, vice president at the time, to a top executive at Burisma, a Ukrainian energy firm.

In response to a question from CBS News on Friday, the elder Biden said he had “no response” to the story, calling it “another smear campaign.”

Before Air Force One’s arrival, hundreds of people lined Via Lido in Newport Beach awaiting Trump’s arrival, the Orange County Register reported.

Most of the people interviewed by the newspaper told the paper they were there to get Trump’s help to stop the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory in the Caucasus Mountains.

A small group of Black Lives Matter demonstrators faced off with some of the Trump supporters. The police received no reports of violence.

State Democratic party chairman Rusty Hicks criticized the president for his fundraising trip, releasing a statement calling it “a slap in the face to working families across California …”

The Trump campaign postponed the event, originally slated to take place Oct. 6, after the President contracted the coronavirus. He says he no longer feels ill and his doctors have cleared him for public appearances.

However, some experts have expressed concern about him holding in-person events just two weeks after being released from Walter Reed Medical Center. They continue to discourage any large public gatherings.

Luckey, 28, has donated $405,600 to Trump’s campaign this cycle, the Orange County Register reported, citing Federal Election Commission records.

He’s also donated more than $1.7 million this cycle, with much of the rest of those funds going to Republican committees and candidates. They include Michelle Steel and Young Kim, who are both trying to unseat Orange County Democratic members of Congress.

Luckey, a Long Beach native, was 19 when he co-founded the Oculus Rift virtual-reality system. His company sold for an estimated $3 billion to Facebook in 2014.

– City News Service

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