Trump's stay in Waikiki proves a spectacle — and a headache

(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
Waikiki security checkpoint. (Image: Hawaii News Now)
Waikiki security checkpoint. (Image: Hawaii News Now)

WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - The normally fast-paced pulse of Waikiki slowed to a crawl Friday amid heightened security and road closures for the president's visit.

On Friday afternoon, scores lined Kuhio Avenue in hopes of getting a glimpse of the commander-in-chief.

"We had no idea that he was coming here while we were going to be here so it's kind of exciting," said Patty Owings, a California visitor.

She added, of the traffic, "it's been a little hectic."

Washington state visitor Deanna Freeland supports the president and hoped to see him.

"It's fabulous that he's going to Asia to try to negotiate," she said. "I think he's looking for world peace. I don't think he is trying to start wars."

The president and first lady are staying at the Ritz Carlton Residences, and Trump headed there after meetings at Camp Smith on Friday. He's set to go to the USS Arizona Memorial later in the day before returning to his hotel.

Kuhio Avenue in the area has been shut down along with two lanes of Kalakaua Avenue.

Crowd and concrete barriers have also been put in place.

The closures and barriers startled some visitors, and left some stores empty.

"It's a little bit of a hassle," said New Zealand visitor Jill Tan. "There were so many police cars we didn't know what was happening."

She added that Trump, in her mind, is a "controversial person."

Protester Kelly Pepper had stronger words for the president. She was among a handful of demonstrators in Waikiki on Friday afternoon, though the number of protesters was expected to increase later in the evening, after a planned rally at the state Capitol building.

"I believe this man is not capable of running our country," Pepper said.

Bryan Clark lives in Waikiki and said getting in and out of the tourist hotspot during the president's visit is "impossible."

"Just stay out of the way or ride your bike," he said.

Clark added that he supports the president's upcoming tour of Asia. "It's a big-time trip," he said.

Road closures and parking restriction in Waikiki started Thursday night and are expected to continue through Saturday morning.

Some mobile users may need to click here for more photos of President Trump's visit to the islands.

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