Former President Donald Trump’s first rally of 2022 shall be in Florence, the place a number of Republican candidates will take the stage as nicely.
Trump’s look Saturday shall be his second within the state since leaving workplace and underscores his continued significance in GOP circles almost one 12 months after departing the White House.
Follow protection of the Trump rally by Republic reporters right here all through the day Saturday.
PAST COVERAGE BY THE REPUBLIC
DEMOCRACY IN DOUBT: Trump, allies pushed to undermine 2020 election
HOW WE GOT HERE: An Arizona election audit timeline
ARIZONA ELECTION REVIEW DISCREDITED: ‘Results were meaningless’: Analysts say they cannot validate or replicate Cyber Ninjas’ hand count of votes
7:20 p.m.: Democrats subject assertion on Trump rally
Democratic National Committee spokesperson Adonna Biel launched an announcement earlier than former President Donald Trump spoke in Florence.
“Let there be no mistake, the Republican Party has surrendered to Donald Trump’s stranglehold and fully embraced him no matter the cost to our democracy or Americans’ lives,” it read in part.
“Tonight’s rally will serve as little more than a reminder of the chaos and extremism of today’s Republican Party, and why 81 million Americans rejected Donald Trump in 2020 to elect President Biden, Vice President Harris, and Democrats who have led the fastest economic recovery in history, delivered a Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to repair Arizona’s roads and bridges, gotten Americans vaccinated, and helped create over 6 million jobs.”
— Kathy Tulumello
7 p.m.: Kari Lake vows no COVID-19 mandates, calls out migrants, Biden
Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake started her speech echoing the theme of a number of the different audio system, praising America below Trump and itemizing its issues below Biden. As did others, she referred to as Trump “president” and slammed the 2020 election as “rotten to the core.”
She vowed to “close every single loophole that allows them to cheat,” although she didn’t give particulars.
Her wide-ranging feedback touched on COVID-19 mandates that she mentioned “people are no longer willing to put up with.”
Claiming she was up “30 points” or extra in polls of voters, Lake mentioned, “There will be no mandates and no lockdowns” together with her as governor.
She additionally referred to as out migrants with out papers. “To the people flooding across our border: When I’m governor, you will be arrested and sent back across the border.”
It’s unclear precisely how she would do this with out federal cooperation, however her feedback echoed these at a information convention on border safety on Tuesday by state lawmakers and Ken Cuccinelli, a former U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services official below Trump, who claimed that the “self-defense clause” in the U.S. Constitution permits states to take motion even with out the federal authorities in occasions of invasion.
“We are being invaded, and China is pushing deadly fentanyl through Mexico,” mentioned Lake, who then addressed Biden: “It’s going to stop with me … We do not need your protection, your permission to defend our state.”
She vowed to complete constructing Trump’s border wall in Arizona, sparking crowd members to chant, “Build that wall! Build that wall!”
— Ray Stern
6:40 p.m.: Members of Congress, candidates cheer Trump, boo others
The crowd booed the information media, booed Republican Gov. Doug Ducey and booed election employees. Crowd members could have been Republicans, however they have been firmly dedicated to 1 man, Donald Trump, and the concept that Biden stole the election from him.
The politicians who warmed up the gang for Trump hammered house the factors. U.S. House members Debbie Lesko, Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar ripped Biden and exhorted the gang to prepare for the following elections.
“Can you feel the storm building?” Gosar requested.
Anthony Kern, a former state consultant who’s operating for state Senate and who was in Washington close to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, started yelling, “Trump! Trump! Trump!” as the previous president’s helicopter descended to the competition grounds shortly after 5:30 p.m. “Welcome to Arizona, Mr. President!”
On Dec. 14, 2020, Kern and 10 different Arizonans, together with state GOP Chair Kelli Ward and Rep. Jake Hoffman, R-Queen Creek, signed a doc that was despatched to Congress with a false avowal that they constituted Arizona’s official vote in the Electoral College.
All 11 folks have been listed on the final election poll because the would-be electors for Trump.
But Trump had misplaced Arizona. Ducey had licensed the election ends in late November. By state statute, the one electors who mattered have been these pledged to solid their votes for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, as they did Dec. 14, 2020, at midday.
The doc the Republicans signed, obtained from the National Archives final 12 months by the group American Oversight, missed that element.
It described the “undersigned” because the “duly elected and qualified Electors for President and Vice President of the United States of America from the State of Arizona …”
Referring to complaints that he and people electors needs to be criminally charged, Kern mentioned the “real criminals are the ones who stole the election.”
Sen. Wendy Rogers, R-Flagstaff, and Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, who’s operating for Arizona secretary of state, continued that tack.
“We are so blessed to have Donald Trump with us here today. We know the election was stolen,” Rogers mentioned.
“They attacked Donald Trump because he exposed them and their evil deeds!” Finchem mentioned.
— Ray Stern and Richard Ruelas
6:10 p.m.: State senators proceed to assert election fraud
State lawmakers Sen. Sonny Borrelli, R-Lake Havasu City, and Sen. Kelly Townsend, R-Mesa, informed the gang to remain dedicated to the election denial conspiracy, as they’d.
Borrelli pushed again on the truth that the assumption in widespread election fraud that stole the presidency from Trump in 2020 was a “conspiracy theory.” He mentioned there was certainly a conspiracy, however he claims “it’s not a theory.”
He said the problem was “obstructionists” who oversee elections at the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office and in Maricopa County.
Townsend and Borrelli were among 30 current and former Arizona lawmakers who signed a resolution asking for the 2020 election to be handed to Trump or for the election certification to be delayed. Borrelli said that many of his peers in the Arizona House and Senate were behind him and other election deniers and that they were going to “tighten up the loopholes that these commie (expletive) have exploited.”
The crowd cheered as Borrelli claimed that the “shamestream media” were hiding facts like “ghost voters” he says were found to have voted in Pima County in 2020. Pima County election officials deny there were any widespread problems with the election.
Townsend asked how many in the crowd had volunteered for the 2020 election or the Senate-led audit — dozens or more raised their hands. She reminded them that state Attorney General Mark Brnovich is investigating findings from the Senate-led audit and led people in a chant:
“What do we want? Indictments! When do we want them? Now!”
She referred to unnamed enemies who are “constantly scheming” to steal elections.
“We want indictments of the election workers so that they don’t continue to do this,” she said before going on to condemn “medical tyranny” she sees in COVID-19 emergency measures.
— Ray Stern
5:30 p.m.: Traffic jams delay Trump fans outside venue
Traffic for the Trump rally was backed up for more than an hour outside Country Thunder in Florence. The line to the front gate snaked back and forth and trailed far into a dirt parking lot as people waited.
Bobby Parsons of Cottonwood said he and his wife arrived at 1 p.m. and waited for more than three hours and still hadn’t made it into the main arena. But he didn’t mind, not at all.
Parsons said he loved the energy of the crowd and couldn’t wait to see Trump. And if there’s one message he hopes Trump delivers, it is: “Tell Biden to get the hell out.”
— Robert Anglen
5:15 p.m.: Spending time with ‘thousands of people who feel the same way’
Two Arizona social workers said their biggest reason for attending the Trump rally is concern for their clients. They said the Biden administration’s handling of the economy has put people who need government services at risk.
“I work for the State of Arizona in the Disability Division, said Colette Lofgren of Apache Junction. “So many people have left their jobs at the state that we cannot get services for people.”
The “Great Resignation” has left the agency with such a backlog that workers are struggling to get to them.
Her friend Sandra Wilson of Mesa nodded in agreement. Wilson works for the Department of Child Safety and said the same issues plague her office.
The women both said the country’s economic situation, with inflation and supply-chain issues, have taken a personal toll.
“I was getting to the age of retirement,” Lofgren said. “There is no way under this administration that I can move forward with my dreams.”
Lofgren said a year ago she was preparing to build a home in Mississippi but abandoned those plans as costs rose.
“There was no way I can build a house,” she said.
Both women said they want to support President Donald Trump, who is the rightful leader of the country.
Wilson said she has attended several Trump rallies and enjoys the camaraderie.
“I can be with good friends and be with thousands and thousands of people who feel the same way,” she said.
— Robert Anglen
4:55 p.m.: Ward: Who won the election? Crowd: Trump
Many — if not most — people in the crowd seemed to believe Trump’s insistence that he really won the election by “a lot.” A year of investigation, numerous courts throwing out lawsuits claiming they had evidence of fraud and the results of the audit authorized by the Arizona Senate did not seem to deter crowd members from their belief.
Kelli Ward, chair of the Arizona Republican Party, who took the stage first, made that clear. She gave a brief speech that began by asking the crowd to respond to the question “Who won the election?”
“Trump!” the crowd roared.
Seeming to address concerns by many Republicans about the election system, Ward urged people to “please, please go out and vote.”
Ward claimed that “cheating” also occurred in 2016, but “we overwhelmed their cheating algorithm.”
“Get rid of Dominion! Get rid of drop boxes!” she shouted. “Let’s restore integrity to our election.”
Many of the people in the crowd wore colorful costumes, Trump apparel and shirts supporting Trump or Arizona Republican candidates for office such as gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake or U.S. Senate contender Jim Lamon.
The crowd included many young people and senior citizens, though most in attendance seemed to be middle-aged. The festival atmosphere included food trucks, loudspeakers blaring a mix of country and classic rock, long lines for the portable toilets and a stage with bleachers for VIPs.
Diehard belief in the falsehood that Trump actually won the 2020 election was a strong theme.
Tamera Rayl of Tucson, who was hanging out on a blanket with family members, said she believes Biden won through fraud and hopes Arizona lawmakers “get rid of the machines” used in elections and go back to paper ballots that would be hand-counted.
She believes like-minded Republicans will still be “mad enough” over the 2020 election results to show up at the polls this year despite beliefs that the election system is broken.
— Ray Stern
4:45 p.m.: Speaker lineup includes Lake, 3 members of Congress
Besides Trump, speakers were expected to include several politicians who have spread falsehoods about the 2020 election and supported rioters who invaded the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. They include:
U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz.
U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz.
U.S. Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz.
State Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley.
State Sen. Kelly Townsend, R-Mesa.
State Sen. Wendy Rogers, R-Flagstaff.
Kari Lake, candidate for Arizona governor.
Anthony Kern, former state representative and candidate for state Senate.
Kelli Ward, chair of the Arizona Republican Party.
Alveda King, 2020 campaign advisory board member.
Boris Epshteyn, Trump strategic adviser and 2020 campaign board member.
Mike Lindell, CEO of My Pillow.
“You know what day it is,” a voice said over the loudspeaker at about 4 p.m. “It’s Trump Day! Let’s go, Brandon!”
Many in the crowd responded in kind with the veiled, obscene insult of President Joe Biden.
— Ray Stern
3:55 p.m.: Crowd gathers for speeches, rally
Thousands of spectators began to gather Saturday afternoon at the Country Thunder festival grounds, with traffic backups on State Route 79. Gates opened at 2 p.m. More than a dozen ATVs lined State Route 79 just before the entrance, waving flags and cheering those lined up in their cars. A single protester stood across from a Mercedes sedan on the entry road to the venue, waving a sign with the United States code on it.
— Robert Anglen
10:30 a.m.: What’s on Trump’s list of talking points?
Trump gave a preview of the Saturday rally that suggests he will continue pushing baseless claims of election fraud.
“Look ahead to seeing everybody in Arizona tomorrow! Many subjects shall be mentioned together with the Rigged Presidential Election of 2020, the faux Big Lie, the corrupt LameStream Media, the Afghanistan catastrophe, Inflation, the sudden lack of respect for our Nation and its leaders, and rather more,” Trump said in a written statement Friday. “Big crowds, may also be lined on TV. See you Saturday night!”
— Ronald J. Hansen
DEMOCRACY IN DOUBT: Read the series that gets inside the Arizona election review
9 a.m.: Trump takes a shot at Gov. Ducey
Hours before his appearance in Florence, Trump took yet another shot at Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, who has become a frequent punching bag for the former president ever since Ducey signed off on the 2020 election results.
“Rumors are that Doug Ducey, the weak RINO Governor from Arizona, is being pushed by Old Crow Mitch McConnell to run for the U.S. Senate,” Trump said in a statement. “He will never have my endorsement or the support of MAGA Nation!”
Ducey often bristles at any question about whether he will seek the GOP nomination to challenge U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., for his seat later this year.
But rumors abound nevertheless, in part thanks to high-ranking Republicans in Washington, D.C., including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who are urging establishment Republicans including Ducey to run.
But Ducey’s standard reply includes touting his day job as Arizona’s governor and pointing to early 2021, when he said he was not running for the seat. Asked early last week what his future holds after his final year as governor, Ducey said he was focused on leading the state and running the Republican Governors Association, which seeks to elect Republican governors across the country.
“My plate is full,” Ducey told The Arizona Republic. “And I have found in the past, in my career, when I have focused on the work on my desk and done it with excellence, other opportunities present themselves.”
Asked if Ducey would go to Trump’s rally on Saturday, governor’s spokesman C.J. Karamargin said Ducey had “no plans” to attend.
— Stacey Barchenger
Friday afternoon: ReAwaken America Tour leads to police calls at Dream City Church
A conservative forum in Phoenix overlapping Donald Trump’s return to Arizona opened Friday with calls to police.
Attendees at the ReAwaken America Tour at Dream City Church taunted teachers from the nearby BASIS Phoenix charter school over masks, school officials confirmed.
The tour, hosted by conservative podcaster Clay Clark and featuring Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, is scheduled to run through Saturday.
Election fraud and pandemic conspiracies dominate the itinerary, including a speech titled, “It’s the COVID-19 Protocols That Are Mass Murdering COVID-19 Patients.”
Other topics include pinpointing where the world is on the Biblical timeline, communicating after the power grid is destroyed and “Jesus is King & Donald Trump is the REAL president of the United States.”
Arizona Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, state Sen. Wendy Rogers, R-Flagstaff, and Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward are among the scheduled speakers.
A pastor at Dream City Church confirmed about a dozen Phoenix police officers responded to the event Friday and the issue had been “taken care of.”
He mentioned ReAwaken America rented house from the church however is just not affiliated with the church. He mentioned a number of armed personal safety guards have been employed by the occasion.
Dream City has hosted quite a few conservative occasions, together with a June movie premiere touting 2020 election conspiracies by key operatives within the Arizona Senate’s largely discredited poll assessment.
— Robert Anglen
Early Friday afternoon: Vendors gear up for Trump rally
Days before Donald Trump’s rally in Florence, merchandise vendors were staking out highway pullouts and setting up roadside stands more than 20 miles away.
Vendors dragged tents, tables and Trump gear from the backs of vehicles beginning Wednesday.
Flags and T-shirts fluttered around canopies in at least three spots within a mile of each other Friday on Hunt Highway just over the Maricopa County line in San Tan Valley.
Hunt Highway is one of the central routes for people driving from the East Valley to the Country Thunder venue, where Trump is scheduled to speak at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Passing cars gave the occasional honk as they zoomed past on Friday, earning waves from vendors. “It’s going to be good weekend,” one vendor mentioned.
— Robert Anglen
This article initially appeared on Arizona Republic: Trump rally in Arizona: LIVE updates from Florence