After dodging loud protests outside the Hyatt Regency in Burlingame, Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump spoke at the California Republican convention in Burlingame Friday.
After being delayed 45 minutes by protestors outside the Hyatt, Trump entered through a back door to go on stage as the first speaker of the two-day event. The crowd surged toward the entrance when they heard Trump had arrived, carrying off some police barricades.
Trump said to open his speech:
“Well the wasn’t that the easiest entrance I’ve ever had. … We went under a fence and through a fence. It felt like I was crossing the border actually.”
Trump went on to summarize the past year of his campaign and how he plans on taking his momentum to the White House:
“I feel like we’re going to take this thing pretty soon. … It’s a movement. The Republican party, in a presidential sense, doesn’t win anymore. I’m different because I’m going to win states that no one else can.”
The California primary isn’t until June 7, the race is already starting to take center stage in both the Republican and Democratic races. Since this election has been contested by “outsider” candidates, Trump and Bernie Sanders respectively, California voters have an opportunity to affect the outcome of a primary after traditionally exerting undersized influence despite holding the most delegates.
Brandon Gesicki, a Republican delegate from Monterey, told SFBay:
“For once, since 1976, our vote will actually matter. … This is political history in the making.”
Gesicki is in full support of Trump, though he acknowledges there are some delegates a bit tense about supporting the unconventional Trump. He said he believes that it is important to be unified as a party:
“The people are speaking, we need to listen. … We need to help [Trump] be successful, not attack him.”
Outside the convention, some people jumped on top of cars and had angry exchanges with Trump supporters coming and going from the building. Other protesters tried to protect Trump supporters and prevent any violence.
All three remaining Republican presidential candidates will speak this weekend as the convention continues with a dinner banquet this evening featuring Ohio Gov. John Kasich and a lunch banquet on Saturday with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, recently announced as Cruz’s running mate, will host a dinner banquet on Saturday night.
Burlingame Police Lt. Jay Keily said the department had brought in officers from throughout San Mateo County to assist with today’s event. Keily said the department had spoken to groups planning the protest and asked them to keep things peaceful:
“From the get go our focus has been on the safety of the protesters and also obviously at the same time making sure attendees inside, that their safety was accounted for.”
Approximately 50 demonstrators had arrived by 8:30 a.m. to protest the conservative nominees. One protestor managed to make her way past security and started shouting anti-Trump chants with a bull horn before being escorted out by security.
The crowd grew into the hundreds, successfully delaying the start of Trump’s speech. Eggs were thrown and police equipped in riot helmets and batons had to move protestors away from the front of the hotel back to the street.
Bay City News contributed information to this report.