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Thousands Protest in AZ as Trump Threatens Gov’t Shutdown over Border Wall & Defends C’ville Remarks

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In a campaign rally in Phoenix on Tuesday night, President Donald Trump repeatedly defended his response to the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville as thousands of protesters who had gathered outside were attacked by police with tear gas and pepper balls. During his speech, Trump blasted the corporate media and also threatened a government shutdown if he didn’t get congressional approval to build a wall along the southern border.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We begin today’s show in Phoenix, Arizona, where President Trump held a rally where he repeatedly defended his response to the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. He also criticized Arizona’s two Republican senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, without directly mentioning their names. Neither were there, nor was the governor.

While Trump spoke, thousands of protesters gathered outside the Phoenix Convention Center. Police attacked the thousands of protesters with tear gas and pepper balls. There are also some reports that police fired rubber-coated steel bullets at the protesters. Police reported four people were arrested. During his speech, Trump repeatedly criticized the corporate media.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: These are truly dishonest people. And not all of them, not all of them. You have some very good reporters. You have some very fair journalists. But for the most part, honestly, these are really, really dishonest people. And they’re bad people. And I really think they don’t like our country. I really believe that. And I don’t believe they’re going to change, and that’s why I do this. If they would change, I would never say it. The only people giving a platform to these hate groups is the media itself and the fake news.

AMY GOODMAN: President Trump attacked the media for about 20 minutes of his speech. During that speech, he also defended former CNN analyst Jeffrey Lord, a Trump backer, who was fired for tweeting a Nazi victory salute.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: You wonder why CNN is doing relatively poorly in the ratings? Because they’re putting like seven people, all negative on Trump, and they fired Jeffrey Lord. Poor Jeffrey. Jeffrey Lord. I guess he was getting a little bit fed up, and he was probably fighting back a little too hard. They said, “We better get out of here. We get him out.”

AMY GOODMAN: President Trump also criticized what he described as the, quote, “weak, weak people” who have allowed Confederate statues to be removed in recent weeks.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: From George Washington—please, don’t take his statue down, please. Please. Does anybody want George Washington’s statue? No? Is that sad? Is that all sad? To Lincoln to Teddy Roosevelt, I see they want to take Teddy Roosevelt’s down, too. They’re trying to figure out why. They don’t know. They’re trying to take away our culture. They’re trying to take away our history.

AMY GOODMAN: While thousands of protesters rallied outside the Phoenix Convention Center, Trump openly dismissed his critics.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: All week they’re talking about the massive crowds that are going to be outside. Where are they? Well, it’s hot out. It is hot. I think it’s too warm. You know, they show up in the helmets and the black masks, and they’ve got clubs, and they’ve got everything. Antifa!

AMY GOODMAN: President Trump also threatened a government shutdown if he didn’t get congressional approval to build a wall on the southern border.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We are cracking down on these sanctuary cities that shield criminal aliens, finally. And we are building a wall on the southern border, which is absolutely necessary. Build that wall. Now, the obstructionist Democrats would like us not to do it. But, believe me, if we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall.

AMY GOODMAN: Ahead of his speech in Phoenix, there was much speculation Trump would pardon Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who’s been convicted of contempt of court for defying a court order to stop his deputies from racially profiling people, then detaining them on suspicion of being undocumented. Last night, Trump hinted a pardon would be coming soon.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: By the way, I’m just curious. Do the people in this room like Sheriff Joe? So, was Sheriff Joe convicted for doing his job? That’s what—he should have had a jury. But you know what? I’ll make a prediction: I think he’s going to be just fine. OK? But—but I won’t do it tonight, because I don’t want to cause any controversy. Is that OK? All right? But Sheriff Joe can feel good.

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Arizona Migrant Justice Activist: Pardon the Immigrants Arpaio Criminalized, Not the Racist Sheriff

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