Trump gives combative speech at campaign-style rally in Phoenix

CBS News Auto 3 months ago

In Phoenix, Arizona on Tuesday night, President Trump insulted journalists, complained about Republican senators, defended his remarks concerning the rally in Charlottesville that left one dead and many wounded, and strongly implied he would soon pardon Sheriff Joe Arpaio. 

Mr. Trump started off by criticizing the press. "I'm really doing this to show you how...dishonest these people are," Mr. Trump said towards the beginning of the speech, referring to the media. 

The president spent roughly the first half of his rally defending his response to the violent events in Charlottesville, Virginia. He called the media's coverage of his initial statement unfair and began reading a transcription of his first statement verbatim. 

"They don't report it," Mr. Trump said of the media as he began to read a transcript of his initial statement. 

Tuesday evening's rally was the first since Mr. Trump's comments blaming "both sides" for the violence in Charlottesville earlier this month. The remarks were heavily criticized by Democrats and Republicans alike

Mr. Trump referred to the "failing New York Times" and labeled The Washington Post as a "lobbying tool" for Amazon. He also had predictably harsh words for CNN, a network his White House has frequently feuded with. 

"I really think they don't like our country. I really believe that," Mr. Trump said of the media. 

And although he didn't mention them by name, Mr. Trump also had harsh words for Arizona's two Republican senators, Jeff Flake and John McCain. The president indicated his reluctance to mention McCain and Flake by name was due to pleas from White House staff. 

McCain cast the vote that terminated the president's long-promised plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, and has since been subject to verbal attacks from Mr. Trump ever since. During Tuesday's speech, Mr. Trump frequently complained that Obamacare had not been repealed due to "one vote." 

Flake, who is up for re-election in 2018, has been a vocal critic of the president. On Tuesday, Mr. Trump called him "your other senator who is weak on borders and weak on crime."

Mr. Trump has tweeted in support of Flake's competitor, Dr. Kelli Ward. He criticized Flake for being "WEAK on borders, crime and a non-factor in Senate," earlier this month.

As expected, Mr. Trump also spent some time discussing immigration. "The most sacred duty of government is to protect the lives of its citizens," Mr. Trump said as he promised to secure the United States borders, enforce immigration laws and promote "extreme vetting."

He said that immigration places a "burden" on American citizens and reasserted the near future of his long-promised southern border wall. 

"We are building a wall on the southern border," Mr. Trump said, calling the effort "absolutely necessary." 

He then knocked "obstructionist" Democrats in Congress for "putting all of America's safety at risk" by opposing funding for the wall along southern border.

Earlier Tuesday, the president visited Yuma, a city in Arizona that borders Mexico, to tour U.S. Customs and Border Protection border equipment and meet with immigration authorities there. The question of border wall funding is on both Mr. Trump and Congress's agenda after the August recess.

While there was speculation that Mr. Trump may pardon former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio at the rally, he only hinted that this will probably happen in the near future.

"He's going to be just fine," Mr. Trump said. "I won't do it tonight because I don't want to cause any controversy, okay? But Sheriff Joe can feel good."

Arpaio was convicted of criminal charges last month and a federal judge found him guilty of disproportionately targeting Latinos through traffic patrols. He is currently awaiting sentencing.

The speech lasted more than an hour and drew thousands of Trump supporters as well as protesters. As the rally came to a close, police tried to disperse the protesters with tear gas. Arizona Department of Public Safety Director Frank Milstead had said on Monday that state resources will be on standby as a "backstop" in case Phoenix Police needed reinforcements.

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"This is our moment"

Mr. Trump promised that "our beloved nation will succeed" before ending the rally on a resounding "We will make America great again," which the crowd said in unison with the president.

Mr. Trump thanked the Phoenix rally attendees, shook hands and left the venue.

Trump promises tax reform 

"We are committed the passing the first major tax reform in 30 years," the president promised. He said that he hopes to reduce taxes on businesses and corporations, adding that he plans to enact the "biggest tax cut in the history of our country." 

"It's time to pass a tax cut for the middle class families," Mr. Trump said. 

Trump says he will "probably terminate NAFTA"

"We have been so badly taken advantage of," Mr. Trump said. "Personally, I don't think you can make a deal," he added, noting that if a mutual agreement to reform the North American Free Trade Agreement cannot be met, the United States will plan to withdraw.

Trump on his presidency: "Most people think I'm crazy to have done this!"

"I don't believe that any president has accomplished as much as this president in the first six or seven months," Mr. Trump said of himself. He cited his appointment of the new Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, 31 federal judge appointments, 50 signed bills and his administration's elimination of "job-killing" regulations. 

"Maybe something positive can come about" on North Korea

Mr. Trump said that he "respects" the fact that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may be "starting to respect" the United States. His comments come following heightened tension between the United States and North Korea stemming from the regime's acquisition of nuclear warheads and ICBMs capable of reaching parts of the United States. 

Trump vows to build up the military

Following his address to the nation Monday night regarding military action in Afghanistan, Mr. Trump promised an"honorable and enduring outcome in a very tough place."

Trump references McCain and Flake: "I won't mention any names"

"See? I haven't mention any names" Mr. Trump joked as he made references to Sen. John McCain's vote which caused the Senate's repeal of the Affordable Care Act to fail. He also referenced Sen. Jeff Flake without using his specific name, calling him "your other senator who is weak on borders and weak on crime."He called on the crowd to speak to their senators. 

Trump: Democrats want "a step beyond socialism"

The president said that congressional Democrats' vision for the nation will leave the borders "wide open," adding that their policy goals are what he called "a step beyond socialism." The crowd chanted "drain the swamp!" in response. 

Trump calls to remove filibuster rule

Noting that his promise to repeal and replace Obamacare failed in the Senate by "one vote," Mr. Trump said that "some of the best things in health care require 60 votes." 

"You gotta get rid of the filibuster rule, you gotta go to the majority," Mr. Trump said.

Trump promises "extreme vetting"

"I have a message for Congress tonight: your job is to represent American people, American families, American workers. You need to represent them on the border, on taxes, on health care," Mr. Trump said.

"We are building a wall on the southern border"

Mr. Trump promised to build his signature wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, calling it "absolutely necessary." He called out "obstructionist" congressional Democrats for "putting all of America's safety at risk" by opposing funding for the wall along southern border.

Trump: Immigration places "burdens" on Americans

The president noted his visit to Yuma, Arizona earlier Tuesday where he met with border patrol and ICE agents, calling them "incredible people." He said that the visit inspired him to reinforce "already existing laws" surrounding immigration. Mr. Trump also promised to "crack down" on sanctuary cities.

"Do the people in this room like Sheriff Joe?"

Mr. Trump praised former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and made a prediction that "he's going to be just fine," as Arpaio awaits sentencing after being convicted of criminal charges last month and being found guilty of disproportionately targeting Latinos through traffic patrols.

"I won't do it tonight because I don't want to cause any controversy, okay? But Sheriff Joe can feel good," Mr. Trump said, apparently referencing his possible pardon of Arpaio.

Trump promises to be tough on immigration

"The most sacred duty of government is to protect the lives of its citizens," Mr. Trump said, promising to secure the United States borders and enforce immigration laws. 

Trump blames media for divide in nation

"They are trying to take away our history and our heritage," Mr. Trump said of the media. "The only people giving a platform to these hate groups is the media itself and the fake news." He then mocked the media present at the rally, noting that cameras filming the event are "turning those red lights off fast." 

Mr. Trump labeled the media as "the source of division" in the United States. He claimed that the media "would rather getting ratings and clicks than tell the truth." He called out more media outlets by name, but praised Fox News and Sean Hannity for their "fair" coverage of his presidency. 

"Jobs will have a positive impact on race relations"

Mr. Trump claimed that under his leadership, the United States has achieved the lowest unemployment rate in 17 years, adding that under his administration he believes that "wages will go up." Mr. Trump noted his hope that the combination of low unemployment and higher wages can calm some of the tension in race relations. 

Trump calls out Obama for not condemning "radical Islamic terrorism"

The president met the critique that he didn't condemn hate groups in Charlottesville by name by equating this notion to former President Barack Obama's failure to specifically call out "radical islamic terrorism" following terrorist events during his term in the White House.

Trump continues to defend his response to Charlottesville

The president continued reading his initial statement on Charlottesville, asserting that he was both fast and fair enough in his response, which he said "the media" criticized him for.

"I love all the people of our country"

The president promised to "make America great again" but for "all the people of this country." A momentary disruption from a protester caused Mr. Trump to pause before the individual was removed from the rally.

Trump says media didn't cover his Charlottesville response fairly

"I'm really doing this to show you how d**m dishonest these people are," Mr. Trump said. He noted that he condemned the neo-Nazis and white supremacists present at the "Unite the Right" in Charlottesville in his initial statement following the violence that occurred earlier this month. The president then began to read his initial statement to the rally crowd. "They don't report it," Mr. Trump said of the media as he began to read a transcript of his initial statement in an effort to disprove reporters. 

Mr. Trump called out the "failing New York Times" and labeled The Washington Post as a "lobbying tool" for Amazon. Upon the mention of CNN, the crowd responded with chants of "CNN s**ks!" 

Trump cites Charlottesville

Mr. Trump condemned "the thugs who perpetrate hatred and violence" in Charlottesville. He then called out the media, calling them "truly dishonest people," pointing to reporters and cameras nearby. The crowd met this with boos and jeers.

Trump: "Loyalty to our nation requires loyalty to each other"

Striking a tone of unity, Mr. Trump said that "when one part of America hurts, we all hurt." He also said that the "forgotten men and women" will no longer be forgotten. While Mr. Trump said that "we are all American," he noted that he still believes in his signature "America first" policy.

Trump preaches love, promises to fight for his agenda

"Our movement is built on the conviction that every American from every background is entitled to a government that puts their needs first," Mr. Trump said, noting that his "movement" is one of "love." 

He also promised to fight for his agenda, pointing out the importance of the Second Amendment-- a resonant note in an open carry state such as Arizona. The crowd gathered responded with cheers and chants of "USA! USA!"

President Trump takes the stage

Mr. Trump begins his rally. "What a crowd," he said to cheers of his name from the audience. Mr. Trump assured that there weren't "too many people outside protesting." 

"The crowds were so big, almost as big as tonight," Mr. Trump said, recalling Arizona as the site of his first campaign rally. "Believe me, Arizona, I will never forget."


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