Speaking at a rally in a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday afternoon, Donald Trump did not mention the roadblock protest that caused havoc in the area, delaying his arrival and stranding many supporters in their cars for hours.
Instead Trump gave his standard routine about how he is the only candidate who will build a wall on the border with Mexico and end illegal immigration as well as get tough with U.S. trading partners to keep manufacturing jobs in the country. He also ticked off his list of generic conservative promises: repealing Obamacare, protecting gun rights and eliminating the Common Core framework for education.
Trump hurled insults at the Republican establishment, Mitt Romney and his remaining rivals in the GOP presidential race, Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
But Trump did not once address the protest preceding the rally, nor did any protesters manage to disrupt the rally once it started.
Trump’s silence on the matter was especially notable because the roadblock beforehand was one of the most dramatic anti-Trump demonstrations to date.
Earlier in the day, demonstrators stopped their cars on Shea Boulevard, one of the main roads leading to the rally. Many of them tied themselves to the cars with cables, preventing their cars from being towed right away.
The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office arrested at least three people for blocking a public roadway in connection with the incident.
The stoppage caused Trump to arrive some 45 minutes late for a rally scheduled for 2 p.m. Eastern Time. Aerial video footage provided by local TV station ABC15 Arizona showed Trump’s security motorcade speeding up the shoulder of the roads leading into Fountain Hills in order to minimize the delay.
Former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whose harsh treatment of undocumented immigrants has elicited widespread criticism, introduced Trump onstage.
Arpaio addressed the roadblock in his remarks, downplaying the challenge the demonstrators had posed to the rally.
“We had a little problem. Some demonstrators were trying to disrupt and because of them you had to get a little more sunshine. But we made it,” he said.
“Three of them are in jail,” Arpaio added, prompting loud cheers.
Arpaio vowed that protesters would not be able to “intimidate” Trump and his supporters in the Phoenix area.
“Not in this town, I’ll tell you right now,” he said.
Trump was in the Phoenix area to mobilize supporters ahead of Tuesday’s Arizona Republican primary.
“Go out on Tuesday and vote,” he told the crowd of supporters. “I will never let you down!
Trump is currently leading Cruz in Arizona by some 17 points, according to HuffPost Pollster’s polling average, which aggregates all publicly available polls.
Trump expressed confidence that he would both prevail in Arizona and win the majority of Republican delegates nationwide, allowing him to secure the GOP nomination before the party’s July convention in Cleveland.
“We have a silent majority that is no longer so silent,” he said. “It’s now the loud noisy majority and we’re going to be heard.”
Author: Daniel Marans