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Out-of-town Trump fans descend on SF, turning a liberal city red

Supporters of convicted felon Donald Trump began mounting a protest early Thursday afternoon—who are they?

A person is wearing a mask resembling Donald Trump and a shirt depicting "45" with an American flag design. They are posing energetically, surrounded by flags in a park setting.
Trump supporters are out in force supporting the ex-president ahead of his San Francisco visit Thursday. | Source: Noah Berger for The Standard

Supporters of Donald Trump began mounting a protest early Thursday afternoon ahead of the former president’s fundraising dinner at a billionaire’s mansion in Pacific Heights.

Tickets for the sold-out soiree at David Sacks’ home start at $50,000 and top out at $300,000 per person or $500,000 per couple.

But admission was free to the protest at Marina Green, which no one in the crowd seemed to know the name of when The Standard visited. The protest was about 250 people strong after growing from around 80 earlier in the day, plus a handful of counter-protesters.

People gather roadside, holding American flags and signs supporting Trump 2024. A person in a Trump mask and suit raises a large red flag with "Trump 2024" printed on it.
Trump supporters line up along Marina Boulevard during a raucous Pro Trump event. | Source: Morgan Ellis/The Standard
A man wearing a red "Trump 2024" hat and a blue shirt with a Trump badge gestures a "peace" sign near benches and a group of people also in red hats.
Trumper Ben Nguyen from San Jose at a pro-Trump protest in Marina Green on Thursday. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

Among the Trumpers was Ben Nguyen, a 54-year-old San Jose resident and Vietnamese immigrant who was dressed head-to-toe in Trump merch.

“Economy is the number one issue for me,” Nguyen said, wearing a Vietnamese for Trump shirt. “I’ve never paid $5 for gas before. Groceries are up. Everything’s crazy.”

Gary, a Marin county resident wearing a large Trump mask, said he supports Trump because he believes the economy was healthier during his presidency, pointing to lower gas prices as proof. Gary also blasted the U.S Department of Justice for Trump’s conviction, even though the 34 counts of falsifying business records were charges filed in New York state court by Manhattan’s district attorney. The involvement of the DOJ has been called a “conspiracy theory” by Attorney General Merrick Garland.

Protestors gathered at Marina Green to support Donald Trump ahead of the fundraising dinner, which will be held at David Sacks’ home on Thursday. | Source: Morgan Ellis/The Standard

“The DOJ is crooked,” Gary said. “They got him for a bookkeeping charge.”

Distrust of journalists was also evident among the former president’s supporters. Gary added that the mainstream media is “corrupt” and said most TV journalists “aren’t even real reporters.”

“They didn’t even go to journalism school. It’s all liberal propaganda,” Gary said. “The only news you can watch is Newsmax.”

‘Drill, baby, drill’

Fremont resident Mary Pelican, 82, said she supports Trump because she wants restricted immigration and expanded oil exploitation and production.

“Drill, baby, drill,” Pelican said, adding she believes Trump “has the balls” to be president and slammed his 34-count felony conviction as “a total sham.”

“They’ve tried to impeach him twice and now they want to put him in jail or make him a felon,” Pelican said. “I bet Hunter Biden will go scot-free.”

A man in a gray jacket and red hat holds a flag stating "LET'S GO BRANDON" on a grassy field. A woman in red with a colorful backpack stands nearby. Trees and cars are in the background.
“Let's Go Brandon” says this Trump supporter during the protest along Marina Green on Thursday. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard
An individual in patriotic attire, featuring a red, white, and blue tutu and star-shaped glasses, is holding pom-poms and a phone during an outdoor event with other participants.
Fremont resident Mary Pelican, 82, wants Trump to drill for more oil. | Source: Morgan Ellis/The Standard
An older man in a red plaid shirt and red cap stands in the foreground, with numerous American flags and people in the background at an outdoor event.
Oakland resident Gerald Pechenuk, 73, believes Trump is an anti-war Presidential candidate. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

Oakland resident Gerald Pechenuk, 73, who ran for the Alameda County Board of Supervisors but lost in March, said he supports the former president because he believes Trump will keep the U.S. out of international conflicts.

“With Trump, we had no wars,” Pechenuk said. “Right now, Biden is flirting with nuclear war, having Ukraine attacking Russia.”

‘Trump loves the poorly educated’

But not everyone on the green was in favor of the orange one.

Dog walker Jeremy Serwer, 53, who described his political stance as “further left than Bernie Sanders,” heckled a flag-waving Trumper, yelling, “Trump loves the poorly educated!”

When asked if he was surprised Trump was visiting San Francisco to raise funds for his campaign, Serwer said he wasn’t.

A woman wearing a black T-shirt with "America's Most Wanted" and an image of a man, holds a small American flag and a red fringed bag in a grassy outdoor setting.
Trump supporter Alyssa R. shows her support for the former president. | Source: Morgan Ellis/The Standard
A man wearing a Trump-themed shirt and hat holds a "Trump 2024" flag, giving a thumbs-up in a crowd at an outdoor rally with American and Trump flags in the background.
“Pete” drove 4.5 hours from Lake Almanor to attend the Pro Trump event along Marina Green. | Source: Morgan Ellis/The Standard
An elderly person holds a "Trump 2024 Take America Back" flag while sitting. In the foreground, a man is doing push-ups on a blue exercise platform.
A man does pushups at the pro-Trump protest in Marina Green. | Source: Noah Berger for The Standard
In the image, an artist paints a scene of a political rally, depicting people with flags, including "Trump" flags and an American flag, on a standing easel.
An artist who declined to give his name paints the pro-Trump scene of Trump supporters during a pro-Trump protest at Marina Green. | Source: Noah Berger for The Standard
A person in a red "Save America" hat and sunglasses is holding a large cutout of a man hugging an American flag. They show a thumbs-up sign next to a stop sign.
Gerald Pridelander, who traveled from Fairfield, holds a cardboard cutout of Donald Trump during a Pro Trump event on Thursday. | Source: Morgan Ellis/The Standard

“Look at who supports him; it’s the wealthy billionaires,” Serwer said. “I imagine he’ll get 50,000 [votes] this year from the city.”

Trump achieved 56,417 San Francisco votes in the 2020 election. He’s expected to raise over $12 million at Thursday’s fundraiser, reports the New York Times.

Garrett Leahy can be reached at