UPDATED: President Joe Biden arrived at LAX late on Friday afternoon to kickoff a weekend of fundraising, starting with a Hollywood-centric event hosted by designer Michael Smith and James Costos, the former U.S. ambassador to Spain.
Biden and a number of White House staffers then rook Marine One to Santa Monica Airport, and he is motorcading to the event. Among those greeting Biden were California Governor Gavin Newsom, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass.
The Los Angeles Police Department sent out an advisory warning motorists “in the West Los Angeles area, including Century City, Pico-Robertson, and Beverly Hills adjacent, can expect intermittent street closures today. Please plan for traffic delays and avoid the area if possible.”
According to videos posted on social media, dozens of pro-Palestinian demonstrators, chanting “ceasefire now,” lined up near a Holmby Hills park, where Los Angeles police officers and the Secret Service had set up a security fence perimeter near the home where the event will take place.
The LAPD had earlier warned of protest activity expected throughout the weekend.
“The Department will continue to work with any protest organizers to facilitate lawful demonstrations while protecting the safety of all involved including surrounding communities. Violence of any kind will not be tolerated,” the LAPD said.
First Lady Jill Biden arrived earlier in Los Angeles, and toured the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center and Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars Sinai.
The California Republican Party, meanwhile, has weighed in with a blast at the presidential visit.
Party chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson said in a statement, “If President Biden is expecting a warm welcome from the Golden State today, he hasn’t been paying attention to local polls that show his approval at record lows among Californians. It seems even deep-blue California can’t get behind his disastrous agenda of high inflation, open borders, weak foreign policy, failing schools, and rampant crime. No amount of time spent rubbing elbows with Hollywood elites while bragging about the imaginary merits of ‘Bidenomics’ will change the fact that Joe Biden’s presidency is an abject failure.”