Trump criticizes Obamacare and Clinton email scandal at Phoenix rally

Donald Trump visited Phoenix just 10 days before the election to rally supporters in what could be a battleground state for the first time since 1996

Donald Trump hammered home his core messages of repealing the Affordable Care Act and harped on Hillary’s email controversy Saturday during his seventh visit to Arizona.

The visit, coming just days after his son campaigned on ASU’s campus, is indicative of the bizarre status of Arizona as a battleground state this late in the election.

The event kicked off with appearances by state and local leaders including Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and Republican Party Chair Robert Graham.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio, an avid Trump surrogate and controversial Maricopa Sheriff who plead not guilty to criminal contempt yesterday, took the stage by storm to tout his loyalty to Trump.

“This is my seventh time standing by our next president,” Arpaio said.

He went on to list what he said were Trump’s greatest strengths.

“He’s a winner, he has a great vision, or should I say common sense?” he said. “We were also born on the same day.”

Before leaving the stage, he touted the antiestablishment and anti-media sentiments that have prevailed in this campaign, drawing boos and grimaces from the crowd.

“The politicians and the media of this country ought to tell the truth rather than what they are saying,” Arpaio said.

Trump started off his speech by looking back at his first stop in Phoenix, which was almost 15 months ago.

“This was the scene of my first major speech,” Trump said. “The silent majority is back.”

Several thousand people cheered him on. Trump claimed that more than 15,000 people were in attendance, although that figure has not been verified. 

Despite the Real Clear Politics analysis showing Clinton with a lead in Arizona, Trump said Arizona would carry him to the White House.

“We are going to win the state of Arizona,” he said. “We are going to win back the White House."

He also reaffirmed his promise to repeal Obamacare, and replace it.

“Elect me, and we will stop the madness of Obama care; it will be repealed,“ he said. “The citizens of Arizona, congrats, are going to experience a 116 percent increase in healthcare premiums”

He urged voters to vote for Joe Arpaio and said that America doesn’t love tough people anymore.

“Folks, he was one of the first endorsers of Donald Trump,” he said. “Vote for Sheriff Joe Arpaio.”

He went on to liken the newly rekindled Clinton email scandal to Nixon’s Watergate scandal and alleged collusion between Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton.

“This is the biggest political scandal since watergate, and it is everyones deepest hope that justice will finally be beautifully served,“ he said. “There are those, and I happen to be one of them, that think Hillary Clinton offered Loretta Lynch reappointment if she was elected.”

He said the political system is corrupt and rigged, as he has at other campaign stops.

“This is what I mean when I say that our system is rigged,” he said. “Be careful, watch for voter fraud.” 

In a phone interview before the rally, Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego said he is very confident that Clinton will take Arizona. He also said that the campaign stop was a poor move.

“It shows what an awful presidential candidate he is,” Gallego said. “His racist rhetoric is not in line with what Arizona stands for.”

He also said that the transfer of party allegiance from republican to democrat in Arizona was just a matter of time due to the change in demographics.

“We were going to go blue no matter what,” he said. “We are younger and more diverse than ever, Trump just sped up that process.”

Steven Slujocki, ASU Alum and Maricopa Democratic Party Chair, said that Trumps visit to Arizona will be ineffective against Democratic ground game efforts in the state.

“While he is down there talking, we have thousands of people knocking on doors,” Slujocki said. “Arizonans are going to stand up and say 'no' to Donald Trump.”

Despite Arizona being a red state in most past elections, Slujocki believes that Trumps divisive rhetoric will change that trend.

“People are rejecting his misogyny and racism,” he said.

Julian Thier, a Trump supporter and ASU student, said that he supported Trump because he can't trust Clinton's college tuition plan

"It's a lot like Bernie Sanders' plan, which would screw over Millennials in the future," Thier said. 

Thier also said he believes some of the controversial allegations of sexual assault against Trump were possibly planted by the Clinton foundation. 

Trump ended the rally with his hallmark slogan. 

"We will make America just again, we will make America strong again. We will make America great again."


Reach the reporter at isaac.windes@asu.edu or follow @isaacwindeschef on Twitter.

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