TUCSON, Ariz. (CN) — President Donald Trump said he was “running angry” and not “running scared” before he took off for Tucson, Arizona, Monday where he rallied a crowd of supporters with threats that former Vice President Joe Biden wants to take away their health care, Medicare, and guns.
“I don’t think you want to give up those guns,” Trump said to cheers. “That’s not for Arizona.”
The president’s rally was his fifth in three days as he tries to muster a surge of support with Election Day fast approaching. Voting began last week in the Copper State, where more than half of ballots have been cast by mail for a decade. Trump won Arizona by a slim margin against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016 and trails Biden in most recent polls there.
The Republican Party nominee spoke before a crowd of more than 2,000 on the blazing hot tarmac at Tucson International Airport, where the temperature was at 93 degrees at 3 p.m. Mountain Time. A line to get in stretched at least a quarter-mile from the doors. Few in the crowd were wearing masks but most were wearing Trump hats and shirts. Many were draped in Trump 2020 flags.
Under his second administration, prosperity will surge, and the pandemic, which Trump claimed is “rounding the turn,” will be a thing of the past, he said, vowing 100 million vaccines before the end of the year. He asserted that the vaccine will be free. He also downplayed Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus that has claimed more than 200,000 American lives since the spring.
After taking the drug Remdesivir, which has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use, Trump woke up feeling much better, he said.
“I woke up the next morning, and I felt like Superman,” Trump said.
A recent study by the World Health Organization found that the drug does not improve hospitalized Covid-19 patients’ chances of survivability.
The president also discussed violence across the country, saying that it has plagued what he referred to the “Democratic” cities of Chicago and New York. At this, a chant of “I love you! I love you!” erupted from the crowd, which the president said has never happened before.
“You’re going to make my cry,” he said. “You’re going to make me cry, and you’ll ruin my reputation, and you won’t love me anymore.”
The president also alleged that Biden would cut the military to the bone and surrender things Americans hold dear.
“Biden will surrender your jobs to China,” Trump said. “He will surrender your future to the virus, and he will surrender your country to the radical, socialist left.”
Trump cited a recent Gallup poll that showed 56% of Americans think they’re better off than four years ago, and he warned that his Democratic rival would usher in a “Biden depression” with a national lockdown that would cripple businesses.
Tucsonan Sandy Ziegler, 56, was within a few rows of the stage, wearing a mask reading “Jesus is my savior, Trump is my president” and a shirt with a Smokey Bear parody shirt slogan: “Only you can prevent socialism.” She likes Trump’s hard line against China, and his desire for a strong military.
She also likes the president for his views on Israel.
“I am always watching Israel,” Ziegler said. “God says he will bless you if you bless Israel, and the president supports Israel. I trust God most, but I also trust Trump.”
On Friday, Tucson Mayor Regina Romero sent Trump a letter asking him to abide by the city’s Covid-19 reduction measures, including a mask mandate in outdoor places where social distancing isn’t possible. Tucsonans have made a lot of sacrifices to keep virus numbers low here, the mayor said.
“It would be deeply unfortunate if one gathering jeopardized all of the progress we have made thus far,” she wrote.
Romero reminded the president that his campaign still owes the city $80,000 for security at a 2016 rally. This time around the expected bill will be $50,000, she said.
“Since this is a campaign event, we respectfully request that you reimburse the city and its taxpayers for these expenses,” she wrote.
Jim Beard is an HVAC technician in Tucson who saw the president speak Monday.
Beard thinks the president’s penchant for loosening the government’s grip on businesses is a plus. He called the Environmental Protection Agency, in which Trump’s administration has rolled back dozens of regulations, “necessary as hell,” but is in favor of sensible regulation.
Beard cited California’s state government, which recently mandated that all new cars sold there be electric by 2035.
“They have a power shortage as it is,” he said. “How are they going to power all those cars?”
Trump is behind Biden in most Arizona polls, but no Democratic presidential candidate has won Arizona since Bill Clinton in 1996.
A poll of 1,600 voters over 50 published Monday by AARP, Benenson Strategy Group, GS Strategy Group, and OH Predictive Insights shows that Arizona’s age 50 and older voters trust Biden more than the president.
Those likely voters think the former Delaware senator is more likely to strengthen Social Security and protect Medicare (49% for Biden, 44% for Trump), look out for the middle and lower classes (49% to 46%), heal racial division (48% to 34%), protect the elderly from Covid-19 (48% to 42%), work with both major political parties (41% to 32%), and make health care more affordable (46% to 41%).
Only on rebuilding the economy did more voters trust Trump than Biden (52% to 43%), the poll showed.
Among Republicans, 85% support Trump’s Covid-19 management, while just 8% of Democrats did. Eighty-three percent of Democrats are worried about getting Covid-19, but just 31% are, the poll showed.
Overall, Biden has the support of 49% of the state’s age 50 and older voters, while 47% percent back the president — well within the poll’s 2.9% margin of error.
Trump-backer Nancy Manning, 55, thinks that despite Biden leading Trump in all recent polls of Arizona voters, the president will win.
“I think there are a lot of people who are Republican who don’t want to say they’re Republican. They don’t want to get their cars trashed, get stickers put on their cars,” she said.
“You have to be careful what you say in Tucson.”
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