GOP presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson—a non-politician who’s polling in second place right behind billionaire businessman Donald Trump—will tour the U.S. border with Mexico after speaking at a rally with thousands of concerned citizens in Phoenix, Arizona. The border tour will be in part by helicopter, led by a local border sheriff, and the only news outlet with exclusive access on the chopper for a firsthand report on Carson’s tour will be Breitbart News.
“It’s literally growing by the hour,” Carson spokesman Doug Watts told Breitbart News exclusively on Saturday evening of the planned Tuesday evening rally with Carson in Phoenix. “We have over 4,500 RSVPs at the moment and we’re starting to wonder about switching venues. The response has been overwhelming. We don’t even have a coordinator in Arizona—it was just an online invitation earlier this week, and the response has been unbelievable. Right now, we’re expecting somewhere between 3,500 and 6,500.”
The Phoenix-area rally will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. local time on Tuesday in Tempe, Arizona, at Grace Community Church. Watts said that Maricopa County—a home to hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of staunch conservatives—has been great to Dr. Carson since his campaign launch, so he’s not surprised one iota by the incredible level of interest in this rally.
“To begin with, I’m not entirely surprised because our number one county for our grassroots fundraising has been Maricopa County—consistently, from day one,” Watts said. “We’ve had a lot of strong support there online and they have remained number one since the beginning of our efforts. I think it’s the same thing a couple of the other outsider campaigns are seeing: Anti-Washington and a real interest in someone who is not a politician fighting the special interests and turning Washington on its head. That’s where the people in this country are right now and they want to try something entirely different because what we’ve had has not been working.”
Watts added that anti-Washington sentiment is growing in America, and has been for over two decades, and this is the year “America strikes back.”
“I think it’s been growing since Ross Perot, and this the year America strikes back,” Watts said. “The citizens begin to take control of their government. They realize that it’s always been within their hands and now they’re going to control it with both hands.”
Carson will be touring the border on Wednesday and conducting a series of public events along the way. Breitbart News will embedded with him providing in depth coverage of Carson’s tour of America’s insecure border with Mexico.
“The Sheriff is very kind to give a helicopter tour in the Pinal County area showing some of the vulnerabilities and some of the regular trafficking routes that he has to contend with on a daily basis,” Watts said. “He along with some of the other law enforcement officials are going to give us a tour along the southern border of Arizona and show us where people’s property and lives and homes are ravaged constantly by illegal immigration.”
Watts said that the immigration issue—and the failure of officials in Washington, D.C., to secure the country for decades—highlights that divide between citizens nationwide and the federal government, a divide that’s given rise to non-politicians like Carson and others in this race.
“Immigration reform has been languishing in Washington for 30 years,” Watts said. “All the same tools are available for them today as have been available to them for 30 years. Nothing material has been done. Band-aids, whitewash, kicking the can down the road—it’s the way Washington treats every serious issue in this country and it’s time to take control and get serious and use our innovation, use our laws, stick to our laws and give our law enforcement people the tools they need to make immigration legal in this country and protect American citizens from illegal immigration and the problems it brings with it.”
Watts, who worked for President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, said he sees “striking similarities” between Carson and Reagan.
“Having worked with Ronald Reagan in 1984, I find some striking similarities—and those similarities are values and moral leadership,” Watts said. “Much more can be done with the bully pulpit and values and moral leadership than can be done with passage of the laws in Congress. I think that’s what people recognize in Dr. Carson is that he has values and moral leadership—he has solid values and solid principles, things that they can rely on for the guy to be close to the compass for his decision-making.”
In addition to Carson’s border trip, he recently visited the inner city in Harlem in New York City and is going to—before he heads to Phoenix—tour the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) project failure in Durango, Colorado, where a gold mine spilled into the state’s rivers. It’s all part of a “new stage” of the Carson campaign, he said, designed to show America that the world’s leading pediatric neurosurgeon has clear examples for policy prescriptions for the United States should voters select him as the nation’s next president.
“We’re embarking on a new stage of the campaign,” Watts said. “We’ve spent the last few months introducing ourselves to America. I think we’ve done a pretty good job. We’ve got well over 350,000 donations and well over 100,000 individual contributors. It’s time for us to start addressing some issues specifically and taking them head on. So we are, prior to the rally in Phoenix, we’re going to be stopping in Durango, Colorado, to address the Gold King mine issue and the failures of the EPA which are pretty emblematic of government in general—not just the Obama administration, but the government in general. This is a kind of maturing of the campaign as we walked the streets of Harlem the other day and addressed face-to-face on the sidewalk the issues of race. We’re talking about the EPA and the failures of regulation and the administration of laws in this country and how they operate and interface with the people.”