Photo by Christina Reyes/Staff

Update 10/20/20: A sentence regarding protestors and supporters breaking safety guidelines was changed for clarification.

President Donald Trump was in Orange County this afternoon to attend a private campaign fundraiser hosted by tech mogul Palmer Luckey.

Trump’s arrival in Newport was met with both supporters and protestors lining the streets. Many of his supporters, as well as a number of protestors, were seen flouting safety guidelines, participating without masks or proper social distancing.

A large portion of the protestors were there to show support for Armenians in light of the escalating conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, which has resulted in the displacement and death of thousands. The crowd of protestors could be seen holding up Armenian flags and chanting “Shame on Turkey.” 

“We want Trump to help us stop the war and genocide killing our kids and innocent people,” Maya Tokhalyan, an Armenian resident of Burbank, told the OC Register. “We are in support of Trump and truly believe Trump will do his best to stop the war for a larger community in the U.S.”

In the final weeks leading up to the election, the Trump campaign has fallen behind in fundraising compared to Biden, who set a record last month by raising $383 million and led the Biden campaign to end the month with $432 million on hand. The Trump campaign announced Thursday that it has $251 million in available campaign funds.

“They don’t have enough money to close out the race,” a former GOP fundraiser told Business Insider.

The fundraiser was hosted in Luckey’s private residence in Newport Beach. Tickets for the event ranged from $2,800 per person to $150,000 for a couple.

Earlier this month, Trump and several other members of his administration tested positive for COVID-19. This fundraising event comes five days after his White House coronavirus quarantine has ended.

White House physician Dr. Sean Conley said in a letter last week that Trump is currently “no longer considered a transmission risk to others.”

Luckey founded the virtual-reality company, Oculus, in 2012 before selling the firm to Facebook for $3 billion in 2014, where he became the social network’s head of VR operations until 2017. 

His departure from Facebook came soon after reports surfaced that he was secretly funneling thousands of dollars into a pro-Trump group that created anti-Hillary Clinton memes during the 2016 presidential election.

After his departure from Facebook, Luckey founded Anduril Industries, a military-contracting startup based in Irvine, that has been awarded contracts from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Marine Corps. 

Following the fundraiser, Trump is scheduled to attend a “Make America Great Again” rally in Carson City, Nevada according to his public personal schedule.

Danielle Dawson is a 2020-2021 City News Co-Editor. She can be reached at citynews@newuniversity.org.

Ian Anzlowar is a 2020-2021 City News Co-Editor. He can be reached at citynews@newuniversity.org.