A packed house at the Phoenix Convention Center welcomed an exuberant and confident Republican nominee Donald Trump to Arizona on Saturday night, ten days before the nation will decide the outcome of a presidential election contest between Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
“Restoring honesty to our government and the rule of law to our society will be a very high priority of my presidency,” Trump told the cheering crowd.
Trump launched an attack on Clinton built around two major themes: Hillary Clinton is too corrupt to serve as president, and Obamacare, which she defends, is a disaster.
“When the outcome is fixed, when the system is rigged, people lose hope. They stop dreaming. They stop trying. When the powerful can get away with anything … then people lose confidence in our laws and confidence in their futures,” the real estate billionaire said.
“Hillary Clinton’s corruption is destructive to the soul of our nation and it must be stopped,” he added, to shouts of “Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up!” from the enthusiastic crowd.
“This was the scene of my first major speech right after I announced that I was running for President,” Trump said.
“We had fifteen thousand. We have more than fifteen thousand [today],” he added.
“The silent majority is back,” Trump told the crowd.
“In ten days we are going to win the state of Arizona, and win back the White House,” he said.
“A Trump administration will immediately repeal and replace Obamacare,” the GOP nominee said, turning to one of the two major themes of the night.
Trump pointed out the specifics of the failure of Obamacare in Arizona.
“The citizens of Arizona are going to experience a 116 percent increase in their Obamacare premiums … and it doesn’t work!” he said.
“Elect me and we will stop the premium hikes for good; we will stop the madness of Obamacare,” Trump promised.
“In Phoenix there are eight Obamacare insurers gone. Next year you’ll have one group to negotiate with,” he noted.
Trump added that Obamacare rate hikes are even worse in Phoenix than the rest of the state.
“In Phoenix, Obamacare premiums will go up 145 percent,” he said.
Rate hikes aren’t the only problem with Obamacare in Arizona. Deductibles are skyrocketing, Trump noted.
“One insurer in this state will have a 14,000 dollar deductible!” he said.
“Obamacare is a catastrophe for Arizona and a catastrophe for the United States,” Trump added, noting that “even Bill Clinton admitted it.”
Trump then turned to Friday’s stunning announcement by FBI director James Comey that the agency was reopening the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was Secretary of state.
“It was just announced yesterday that the FBI was reopening their investigation into the criminal conduct and illegal conduct of Hillary Clinton,” Trump said.
“Hillary has nobody but herself to blame for her mounting legal difficulties. Her actions were willful, deliberate, intentional, and purposeful,” the GOP nominee said, delivering the same blistering critique of his opponent’s actions he had earlier in the day at a rally in Colorado.
“She set up this illegal server knowing full well her actions put our national security at risk,” Trump said.
“But she didn’t care,” he added.
“As long as she and Bill got the money, the safety of your family made no difference to her,” Trump asserted.
“To cover up her crimes … she bleached and deleted 33,000 emails … after receiving a Congressional subpoena, made 13 phones disappear, some with a hammer, lied to Congress under oath many times, lied to the FBI many times,” he said.
Clinton’s corruption problems, Trump said, will continue if she gains higher office.
“Hillary put the office of Secretary of State up for sale. If she ever got the chance she would put the Oval Office up for sale …” he said.
Trump also blasted a politicized Department of Justice.
“The Department of Justice is fighting with the FBI. That’s because the Department of Justice is trying their hardest to protect the criminal activity of Hillary Clinton,” he said.
Trump noted that 97 percent of the contributions to presidential candidates from employees at the Department of Justice went to Hillary Clinton.
“There are those, and I happen to be one of them, that think Hillary Clinton offered Loretta Lynch a reappointment as Attorney General if she becomes president,” he said.
“Perhaps that was what Bill Clinton was arranging when he met with Loretta Lynch on her plane on the tarmac right here in Arizona. It was just a coincidence he was here to play golf,” he added.
“It was 109. It was a very hot day. He just happened to see her,” he noted skeptically.
Trump gave short shrift to the claim Clinton was there to play golf, noting that he golfs in Arizona often and that when it’s 109 degrees, he and his friends decide to stay inside and not play golf.
Trump said the accidental nature of the meeting on the tarmac lacked credibility.
“I’ve had a plane for a long time. Never once has anyone said from the tarmac, ‘Hey can I come on in?'” he said.
“So they spent 39 minutes talking about golf and their grandchildren. I give golf two minutes, grandchildren three minutes,” Trump said, adding that the remaining 34 minutes were spent working out a deal to clear Hillary.
“This is what I mean when I say our system is rigged,” he added:
A vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote to surrender our government to corruption and graft.
Hillary’s corruption shreds the principles on which our nation was founded.
Government corruption spreads outward like a cancer.
When you delete 33,000 emails after getting a subpoena, it’s over.
“Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up!” the crowd shouted again.
“The only reason they [the FBI] did this action was very, very serious things were happening and must have been found,” Trump said.
“Why wasn’t this evidence given previously?” Trump asked.
“Hillary Clinton should never be allowed to run for president of the United States. We have one ultimate check on Hillary Clinton’s corruption, that’s the power of voting on November 8,” Trump added.
“USA! USA! USA!” the crowd responded.
“Haven’t we had enough drama with the Clintons?” he asked.
“Look at the mess she’s in with these emails. That will last for years. Do you think that is going away?” he asked rhetorically.
“This will be the year the American people say enough is enough,” Trump asserted.
“My contract with the American voter begins with a pledge to end government corruption,” he said.
“When we win on November 8, we are going to Washington, D.C. and we are going to drain the swamp,” the Republican nominee promised.
“Drain the Swamp! Drain the Swamp! Drain the Swamp!” the crowd shouted.
A traditionally Republican state, a number of recent polls have suggested Arizona may be in play in the presidential contest next Tuesday between Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. The most recent poll, conducted by Monmouth University between October 21 and October 24, shows Trump with a one point lead, which is within the margin of error.
The dynamics of the presidential election, however, changed dramatically on Friday, when FBI director James Comey made his announcement the agency was reopening the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while Secretary of State.
Trump was preceded by several local speakers, the most surprising of whom was Carl Mueller, the father of Kayla Mueller, the 26-year-old graduate of the University of Northern Arizona who was kidnapped and killed by ISIS.
“Kayla was held for 18 months,” Mueller told the respectful audience.
“She was held in solitary confinement. She was beaten, raped, and killed by ISIS,” Mueller said, adding that his daughter watched as 18 other western hostages were released due to the efforts of their governments.
“We communicated directly with ISIS many times. We put all our faith in our government to bring Kayla home,” Mueller said, adding:
In our desperate efforts to save our daughter, we pleaded with the administration to do what we needed to do to save our daughter, but they blocked us every time. It’s time for a change.
We cannot afford another four years of the same failed policies.
We need a leader who will take a stand … a leader who will defend this nation, its Constitution, and its people.
I find it refreshing to hear a candidate running for president speak his mind, not worried about political correctness.
“I have voted, and I have voted for Donald J. Trump,” Mueller declared.
“Trump! Trump! Trump” shouted the crowd.
“I encourage all of you do to the same. It’s up all of us, Democrats and Republicans, to make America a greater place to be,” Mueller concluded.