Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump calls for change at Phoenix rally

Trump self-identified as a "political outsider" while calling for lenient gun laws and conservative policy in D.C.

Donald Trump spoke to a Phoenix crowd at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum during his fourth rally in the state on June 18.

Trump used the platform to make campaign promises to his supporters. The GOP frontrunner used recent events in the news to put a new perspective on some of his most common conservative appeals.

Firearm legislation 

In addition to his usual sentiments and promises of overthrowing President Barack Obama's policies and making the country "great again," Trump used the event to speak about the recent shooting in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

Trump said the shooting was a tragedy, but would not have caused as many casualties if more conservative firearm policies were the law of the land.

"What happened was not about guns, it's about terrorism," Trump said at the rally. "If you had somebody with a gun strapped to their hip ... and you had bullets going in the opposite direction, right at this animal, you'd have a very, very different result."

Trump said the country needs to collectively become tougher on terrorism in order to prevent such events from occurring more.

"You look at Orlando and how sad that was — unless we get tougher ... it's going to happen again and again ... until we know what the hell we're doing," he said. 

Trump continued his pro-firearm appeal to the crowd by touting his endorsement from the National Rifle Association. 

"They represent the people in this room, and they don't take credit for what they do or what they stand for," he said. "It's a little bit like our police." 

Arizona House Speaker David Gowan spoke before Trump and said the Orlando shooting has political implications. 

"Our Second Amendment is being attacked by the left and they're using every tragedy to do it," he said.

Former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer also spoke before Trump took the stage and preluded his call for more conservative-leaning policies on firearms and terrorism. 

"Donald Trump, he will fight for us and he will fight against radical Islamic terrorism," Brewer said.

Immigration

Trump's stance on immigration struck a chord with the border-state crowd — several times Trump had to stop speaking after being drowned out by applause. 

"If we're not strong on the border, we're going to lose our country," Trump said. "We want people to come to our country, but we want them to come legally."

Gowan set the mood for Trump to speak on immigration issues early in the afternoon.

"Fifty percent of all illegal aliens and 50 percent of all illegal drugs come right through this border," Gowan said. "I know, I've lived there for 23 years."

Economy

"Donald Trump will reduce everyone's taxes," Brewer said. 

Although Trump promised economic reform and what he called the largest tax cut ever promised by a presidential candidate, he did not provide specific details on his plan. 

Trump supporter and Army veteran Kimo Poland set up a "Trump Shop" on the northeast corner of 15th Avenue and McDowell Road prior to the rally. Poland said he supports Trump because he believes Trump can revive the nation's economy.

"I like his plan for the veterans, I want people to get back to work and I want the wall to go up," Poland said.

Trump supporter Leila Osborn agreed with Poland, and said Trump has the ability to revive the economy. 

"He's what we need — he's a businessman, not a politician," she said. 

Trump stressed his displeasure with policies such as the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. 

Regulations which accompany such policies are partly to blame for a less-than stellar economy, Trump said. Many employers cut back on full-time employees to avoid Obamacare regulations, he said. 

"Our good jobs are in other countries, our good jobs are disappearing," Trump said. "Because of Obamacare, you have part-time jobs."

Challenging incumbents

Trump made his status as a "political outsider" a focal point of his speech. Gowan shared Trump's sentiments and said the nation needs an outsider to represent everyday Americans in the White House.

"We have a fourth branch (of government) now ... and it's the regular person," Gowan said. "We need somebody in there who wants to give the power back to them." 

Gowan said the federal government is "out of control," and said the states need to take a stronger stance on immigration individually in order to get the federal government's attention. 

"We live within our means — the federal government can do that, we know that," he said. "We need that vision in Washington, D.C., and President Trump can be that person."

Trump briefly spoke about appointing a new Supreme Court justice after Justice Antonin Scalia's death.

"We're going to put in great intellects, conservative people," Trump said. "Judge Scalia was a great person and a great justice." 

Appointing a new justice to the Supreme Court could have far-reaching implications on the country's policies. Trump took a slightly more progressive stance than he is traditionally known for at the Phoenix rally.

Trump said he wants to court gay and female voters and said electing Hillary Clinton would be a loss for both groups of people. 

"Look at all these women for Trump — I want women for Trump, to hell with the men," he said. "(Clinton) is controlled by countries who treat women horribly and kill gays — you tell me who's better for the gay community and who's better for women."

Trump spent the day putting new twists on nearly all of his oldest slogans and proposed policies — a trend he continued all the way through the end of the rally in his closing statement. 

"We're going to win," Trump said. "Because we're going to make America greater than ever before."


Reach the reporter at jwbowlin@asu.edu or follow @mrjoshuabowling on Twitter.

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