by Wareez Odunayo
U.S President, Donald Trump at a rally in Phoenix on Tuesday threatened to shut down the government over border wall funding and said the North American Free Trade Agreement is likely to be terminated. Trump said, “If we have to close down government, we are building that wall,”
He condemned the media over its coverage of his response to the recent violent protest in Charlottesville, while criticizing the state’s Republican senators for not getting behind him.
Trump selectively recounted the series of statements he made after the protest in Charlottesville, arguing that he “spoke out forcefully against hatred and bigotry and violence” but that the media, whom he called “sick people”, refused to report it properly.
He also signaled during the rally that he could soon pardon Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff in Maricopa County famous for his tough stance against illegal immigration.
Arpaio was convicted last month of criminal contempt for ignoring a federal judge’s order to stop detaining people because he suspected them of being undocumented immigrants. A major Trump supporter during last year’s campaign, he awaits sentencing. Trump asked the crowd, “So was Sheriff Joe convicted for doing his job?”.
“You know what, I’ll make a prediction: I think he’s going to be just fine, okay? But I won’t do it tonight because I don’t want to cause any controversy. But Sheriff Joe should feel good”, he said.
According to The Washington Post, Trump was given a hero’s welcome in Phoenix Convention Center hall from his supporters who chanted “USA! USA! USA!” and waved signs reading “Drain the Swamp,” “Make America Strong Again” and “Make America Proud Again.”
There was heavy police presence in downtown Phoenix to maintain calm between Trump supporters and detractors.
After the rally ended, protesters remained in the streets near the convention center, chanting, “No Trump! No KKK! No racist U.S.A!”
Here are some of the highlights from the controversial rally:
- Trump slammed both Arizona senators McCain & Flake
Although he did not mention them by name, President Donald Trump spoke briefly about Arizona senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake and it was not in flattering terms.
- Trump blamed the media for condemnation of comments on the deadly Charlottesville, Virginia protests
Donald Trump blamed the media for the widespread condemnation of his response to a Charlottesville, Virginia, protest organized by white supremacists that led to the killing of a counter-protester.
- Four Protesters Were Arrested
Chaos erupted outside the Phoenix Convention Center Tuesday night after President Trump’s rally came to an end and thousands of people filled the streets. In the end, four people were arrested and two officers were treated for heat exhaustion.
- No serious injuries were reported but 56 people suffered heat-related emergencies, including two police officers.
- Police deployed tear gas at Trump protesters.