Cronkite Staff

Friday, Oct. 19, 2018

Crowds await Trump as he criss-crosses three corners of Phoenix metro area

MESA –As President Donald Trump started crisscrossing the Phoenix metro area Friday, people lined up hours before an evening rally that has become a trademark of his administration.

Trump was moving from a fundraiser in Scottsdale to a tour of Luke Air Force Base in Glendale and back again for the Mesa “Make America Great” rally expected to draw hundreds to Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport at 6:30 p.m. Friday He’ll head back to the White House on Saturday.

– Map by Daisy Finch and Gina Dattolo/Cronkite News

Supporters lined up in Mesa as dawn broke.

Jay Cole, a Trump rally veteran, said it’s best to leave his house in Mesa by 3 a.m. or, at the latest, 4 a.m., to be among the first in line.

“I like to be in the front so I can get front row seats so I can be close to him,” Jay said. He expects the president to be worth the wait, calling the chance to hear him speak a once-in- a lifetime opportunity for him.

He brought his brother, Tim to his first rally.

Tm Cole said he’s not sure what to expect, but he’s game.

“I’ve never met or been around the president or any president so I thought it would be fun,” he said.

By 1 p.m. Friday, the line snaked around the building. Mesa police said about 1,000 people were there but called it a rough estimate.

One of those was Teresa Mendoza, a Mesa resident and a member of the Latinas for Trump national group. She said she was a longtime Democrat but became a Republican after Trump became president.

“The Democrats are out of control,” she said. “Now I’m not only an ex-Democrat, I’ll never vote Democrat again. He turned me into a Trumpster.”

She attended the Phoenix rally last year, which led to Phoenix police turning tear gas and pepper-spray bullets on protesters after the rally. The Phoenix chapter of the ACLU has filed a class action lawsuit, saying police overreacted.

But Mendoza said she hopes police would use force again if protesters act irrationally. What brought her to this rally is seeing people of all backgrounds supporting Trump’s values.

The president arrived late Thursday night at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and headed directly to the Scottsdale Princess resort. On Friday, according to his schedule, he participated in a roundtable discussion with supporters, delivered remarks at a fundraising committee luncheon and sign a presidential memorandum about the “reliable supply and delivery of water in the West.”

Republican Senate candidate Martha McSally, who is vying against Democrat Kyrsten Sinema,
announced Trump’s tour of the base during a debate on Monday night that aired on Arizona PBS. While on base, the President is expected to participate in a defense roundtable as well.

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