23 Outrageous Moments From Trump’s Rally in Phoenix

Photo: Ralph Freso/Getty Images

President Trump was expected to erase any goodwill generated by his restrained speech on Afghanistan with a boisterous rally in Phoenix, Arizona, on Tuesday night, and he certainly delivered. For 20 minutes, Trump rehashed the controversy over his statements on Charlottesville, reading all of his statements (with significant omissions) and casting himself as the victim of dishonest journalists who hate America. (He made only one fleeting reference to Heather Heyer, who was killed at the white-supremacist rally, and he didn’t use her last name.)

During the rest of his 70-minute speech, Trump touched on a number of controversial topics, from teasing that he’ll pardon Sheriff Joe Arpaio, to suggesting that he’ll pull out of NAFTA, to attacking Republican senators. Here are all the notable moments:

1. Trump walks out to “God Bless the USA” and assures the crowd that there aren’t many protesters outside (there were thousands).
“Wow, what a crowd, what a crowd. And just so you know, from the Secret Service, there aren’t too many people outside protesting, okay? That I can tell you.”

2. Trump blames the media for the controversy over his reaction to Charlottesville.
“What happened in Charlottesville strikes at the core of America. And tonight this entire arena stands united in the forceful condemnation of the thugs who perpetrate hatred and violence.” [Applause.]

“But the very dishonest media — those people right up there with all the cameras …” [Crowd boos loudly.] So the — and I mean truly dishonest people, in the media, and the fake media, they make up stories, they have no sources in many cases … they don’t report the facts. Just like they don’t want to report that I spoke out forcefully against hatred, bigotry, and violence and strongly condemned the neo-Nazis, the white supremacists, and the KKK. I openly called for unity, healing, and love and they know it because they were all there.”

3. Trump reads his initial statement on Charlottesville, but omits the controversial line, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides, on many sides.”

4. Trump complains that “Little George Stephanopoulos” asked United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley a question about Charlottesville during an interview rather than focusing solely on his Afghanistan speech.

5. Trump exclaims “Antifa!”
“They show up in the helmets and the black masks and they have clubs and everything. Antifa!”

6. Trump laments that CNN fired pro-Trump commentator Jeffrey Lord, but does not mention that he was let go for tweeting “Sieg Heil!”
“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 and they said, we better get him out of here.”

7. Trump says the media had a “hard time” with his statement two days after the Charlottesville rally, in which he “hit them” with specific references to hate groups. “The words were perfect,” Trump says.
“They were having a hard time with that one because I said everything. I hit them with neo-Nazis. I hit them with everything. I got the white supremacists, the neo-Nazis, everything. KKK? We have KKK. I got them all. So they’re having a hard time. So what did they say? Right? It should’ve been sooner. He is racist.”

8. Trump says he’s only upset because by criticizing his failure to forcefully condemn white supremacists, the “crooked media” is actually attacking his supporters.
“The media can attack me. But where I draw the line is when they attack you, which is what they do. When they attack the decency of our supporters … you’re taxpaying Americans who love our nation, obey our laws, and care for our people. It is time to expose the crooked media deceptions and to challenge the media for their role in fomenting divisions.”

9. Trump blows the white-supremacist dog whistle again, saying his critics are trying to “take away our history.” Then he claims it’s journalists who are bolstering hate groups.
“And yes, by the way, they are trying to take away our history and heritage. You see that. And I say it, and you know, we’re all pros, we have a certain sense. We’re smart people. These are truly dishonest people. And not all of them. Not all of them. You’ve some very good reporters. You have some very fair journalists. But for the most part, these are really, really dishonest people. And they’re bad people. And I really think they don’t like our country. And I do not think it will change. That’s why I say this. If they would change, I would never say this. The only people giving a platform to these hate groups is the media itself and the fake news.”

10. Trump says he sees reporters turning off their cameras, and claims CNN doesn’t want its viewers to see what he’s saying. CNN broadcast his speech in full.
“Oh, that is so funny. Look back there. The live red lights. They are turning those suckers off fast, they are turning those lights off fast. Like CNN, CNN does not want its falling viewership’s to see what I’m saying tonight, I can tell you that.”

11. Trump claims he doesn’t do “Twitter storms.”
“Do you ever notice when I go on and I will put out like a tweet or a couple tweets — he is in a Twitter storm again! I don’t do Twitter storms. You will put on a little tweet, will be with the veterans again, they’ll say Donald Trump is in a Twitter storm. These are sick people.”

12. Trump claims the New York Times had to apologize after he won the election because they were losing so many subscribers, which is false.
“The New York Times has written some stories. How about this? The New York Times essentially apologized after I won the election because their coverage was so bad, and it was so wrong, and they were losing so many subscribers that they practically apologized. I would say they did. They would say it was not that much of an apology but they were losing so many people because they were misled.”

13. Trump endorses specific Fox News programs.
“I must tell you, Fox has treated me fairly. Fox treated me fairly. They’ve treated me fairly. Hey, I’ll let you know. You know what? Someday they might not treat me fairly and I’ll tell you about it, okay? But they have treated me fairly. And I mean that. I have had plenty of bad. But at least it’s in reason. And Hannity? How good is Hannity? How good is that? And here’s a great guy. And he is an honest guy. And Fox and Friends in the morning is the absolute most honest show. And it’s a show I watch.”

14. Trump hints that he’ll pardon former Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
“By the way, I’m just curious. Do the people in this room like Sheriff Joe? [Crowd cheers.] So, was Sheriff Joe convicted for doing his job? He should have had a jury, but you know what? I’ll make a prediction. I think he is just going to be fine. Okay? But — I won’t not do it tonight because I don’t want to cause any controversy. Is that okay? All right? But Sheriff Joe can feel good.”

15. Trump describes the recent arrests of gang members on Long Island as “liberating” the region.
“MS-13. We’re throwing them out so fast, they never got thrown out of anything like this. We are liberating towns out on Long Island. We’re liberating. Can you imagine? In this day and age, in this country, we are liberating towns. This is like from a different age.”

16. Trump calls for a government shutdown in September if Congress doesn’t provide money to build a southern border wall.
Build that wall. Now, the obstructionist Democrats would like us not to do it, but believe me, if we have to close down the government, we’re building that wall. Let me be very clear to Democrats in Congress who oppose the border wall and stand in the way of border security. You are putting all of America’s safety at risk. You are doing that. You are doing that.”

17. Trump attacks Arizona senators Jeff Flake and John McCain, who are both Republicans — but he doesn’t say their names.
“You know, they all said, Mr. President, your speech was so good last night. Please. Please, Mr. President. Don’t mention any names. So, I won’t. I won’t. No, I won’t. I won’t mention any names. That’s presidential, isn’t it? Very presidential. And nobody wants me to talk about your other senator who is weak on borders, weak on crime. So I will not talk about him. Nobody wants me to talk about him. Nobody knows who the hell he is. And, now — see? I haven’t mentioned any names. So now everybody is happy.”

18. After complaining that Congress is preventing him from getting anything done, Trump boasts that he’s accomplished more than any previous president has in his first eight months.
“Washington is full of people who were only looking out for themselves. But I do not come to Washington for me. I have led a great life. I’ve had great success. I have enjoyed my life. Most people think I’m crazy to have done this. And I think they’re right. But I enjoy it. Because we made so much. I do not believe that any president — I don’t believe that any president has accomplished as much as this president in the first six or seven months. I really do not believe it, including — I really do not believe it.”

19. Trump offers an incorrect explanation of “clean coal.”
“We’ve ended the war on beautiful, clean coal. And it’s just been announced that a second brand-new coal mine where they’re going to take out clean coal — meaning they’re taking out coal, they’re going to clean it — is opening in the state of Pennsylvania.”

20. Trump claims that his opponents want to “take away our culture” and tear down statues of America’s Founding Fathers.
“In the proud tradition of America’s great leaders, 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 not 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. And our weak leaders do it overnight. These things have been here for 150 years, for 100 years. You go back to a university and it’s gone. Weak, weak people.”

21. Trump says he will probably withdraw from NAFTA.
“I must be honest, and I’ve been talking about NAFTA for a long time. And I’m sorry it’s taken six months, but we have to give notice. You have to see this — we have to give notice, and after the notice is given you have to wait a long time … Anyway, we started two days ago. Bob Lighthizer. Personally, I don’t think we can make a deal because we have been badly taken advantage of. They have made such great deals — both of the countries, but in particular Mexico — that I don’t think we can make a deal. So I think we’ll end up probably terminating NAFTA at some point. Okay? Probably. But I told you from the first day, we will renegotiate NAFTA or we will terminate NAFTA. I personally don’t think you can make a deal without a termination, but we’re gonna see happens.”

22. After lashing out at “obstructionist” Democrats and even Republican senators, Trump asks for their help.
“Now, we need the help of Congress, please. Okay? We need the help of Congress. And we really could use some Democrat help. We’re giving you the biggest tax cut in the history of our country. The Democrats are going to find a way to obstruct. If they do, remember: They are stopping you from getting a massive tax cut. Just remember that, okay?”

23. Trump closes by proclaiming that now is the time to recapture the American “dynasty.”
“We are Americans and the future belongs to us. The future belongs to all of you. This is our moment. This is our chance. This is our opportunity to recapture our dynasty like never before.”

23 Outrageous Moments From Trump’s Rally in Phoenix