by WorldTribune Staff, August 23, 2017
“If you wanted to discover the source of the division in our country, look no further than the fake news and the crooked media,” President Donald Trump told an enthusiastic crowd of supporters in Phoenix on Aug. 22.
“It’s time to expose the crooked media deceptions and to challenge the media for their role in fomenting divisions and yes, by the way, they are trying to take away our history and our heritage,” he added.
Trump observed that when his criticism of the media began, the “red lights” on the media’s cameras inside the arena were switched off. Turning to the cameras in the back of the auditorium, many shouted their disapproval according to a live Fox News broadcast of the rally.
Trump defended his response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this month.
“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,” Trump said. “I openly called for unity, healing and love and they know it because they were all there.”
Trump also vowed during the rally that he is prepared to shut down the government if Congress doesn’t present a spending bill that will pay for a U.S.-Mexico border wall.
“Believe me, if we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall,” Trump said as the crowd responded: “Build that wall. Build that wall. Build that wall.”
The Republican-controlled Congress has yet to pass a spending resolution to keep the government fully operational past Sept. 30.
The House in late-July passed a spending bill that included $1.6 billion to build the wall, which has an estimated price tag of $12 billion.
At least three Senate Democrats have said they will not support a so-called continuing resolution, a placeholder for a full budget, if it includes money for the wall.
Trump said during the Phoenix rally that: “Democrats would like us not to do it. Let me be very clear to Democrats in Congress who oppose a border wall and stand in the way of border security: You are putting all of America’s safety at risk. You’re doing that.”
“If the president pursues this path, against the wishes of both Republicans and Democrats, as well as the majority of the American people, he will be heading towards a government shutdown, which nobody will like and which won’t accomplish anything,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Aug. 23.
Rep. Trent Franks, Arizona Republican, said on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom” on Aug. 23 that “There would never be any discussion about shutting down the government if it were not for the fact Democrats in the Senate … take this process hostage through the filibuster.”
Greg Stanton, the Democratic mayor of Phoenix, had in an op-ed for The Washington Post repeated his request for Trump to delay the rally.
“America is hurting. And it is hurting largely because Trump has doused racial tensions with gasoline,” Stanton wrote. “With his planned visit to Phoenix on Tuesday, I fear the president may be looking to light a match.”
Stanton also expanded on his ultimatum regarding Trump’s rumored intent to pardon former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio:
“Let’s be clear: A pardon of Arpaio can be viewed only as a presidential endorsement of the lawlessness and discrimination that terrorized Phoenix’s Latino community,” Stanton wrote.