(KTXL) — California has been a waypoint for many U.S. Presidents as a place to campaign, address natural disasters, celebrate landmark legislation or just to visit their home state.
As President Joe Biden makes his way to the Central Coast to assess the damage left by a series of unrelenting storms, here is a look back at visits to the Golden State from previous modern presidents.
On Sep. 14, 2020, President Trump joined Governor Newsom and other state leaders at McClellan Park for a briefing on California’s wildfires.
“I think this is more of a management situation, you know,” Trump said about the potential cause of the wildfires. “If you look at other countries, you go to other countries in Europe, Austria and Finland and numerous countries, and I talk to the heads. Their forest nations, they’re in forests and they don’t have problems like this.”
State officials told the president that climate change was another significant factor in the cause of these wildfires and the size they have grown to.
“If we ignore that science and sort of put our heads in the sand and think it’s all about vegetation management, we’re not going to succeed together in protecting California,” Secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency Wade Crowfoot said to Trump.
On Dec. 18, 2015, President Obama visited San Bernardino after a shooting there killed 14 people and left 21 more injured.
During his visit, he met with families of those who were killed or injured in the Dec. 2, 2015 shooting.
“As difficult as this is for them and the entire (country), they also represent the strength and the unity and the love that exists in this community,” he said. “Despite the pain and the heartache that they’re feeling, they could not have been more inspiring.”
George W. Bush
In August 2002, Bush was the first sitting U.S. President to ever visit Stockton drawing a crowd of more than 4,000 people to the Stockton Memorial Civic Auditorium.
In October 2006, Bush returned to Stockton to visit George W. Bush Elementary school where he shared his feelings on shootings in Pennsylvania, Colorado and Wisconsin.
“The most important jobs of those involved with schools and government is to make sure that children are safe,” Bush said. “And Laura and I were saddened and deeply concerned, like a lot of other citizens around the country, about the school shootings that took place in Pennsylvania and Colorado and Wisconsin. We grieve with the parents and we share the concerns of those who worry about safety in schools.”
President Clinton made several visits to multiple parts of the Golden State during his presidency including Fresno, Salinas, Rio Linda, Pasadena, Oakland, Los Angeles and more.
On Jan. 17, 1995, Clinton would visit Roseville and McClellan Air Force Base after flooding in the Dry Creek watershed left much of Placer County under several feet of water.
A 2005 Roseville Press Tribune article recounts what then-residents remember of the president’s visit to the small suburban community.
“If the president had not come here, I think we would have had another flood,” then Roseville resident Judy Dennett said to the Press Tribune. “We got the berm built and have not had any major problems since then.”
During his presidency, Clinton would visit California six to eight times each year.