PHOENIX — Organizers announced Friday the release of 500 additional tickets for
businessman Donald Trump’s speech on illegal immigration in Arizona.
The speech, originally slated for 2 p.m. Saturday at the Arizona Biltmore, was moved to the Phoenix Convention Center after tickets sold out in less than a day.
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“The Republican Party of Maricopa County is pleased to bring yet another presidential contender to Arizona,” said Republican Party of Maricopa County Chairman Tyler Bowyer. “The Republican Party looks forward to spirited, energetic campaigns in 2016 and is thrilled to continually provide opportunities for Arizonans to engage firsthand in the political process.”
Joining the presidential hopeful will be Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The sheriff is also expected to speak.
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton released a statement saying he doesn’t agree with Trump’s politics but he has a right to speak.
“Mr. Trump has a right under the First Amendment to make absurd and embarrassing statements, and the City of Phoenix will not attempt to censor political speech based on content,” Stanton said.
“The Convention Center is a public facility and open to everyone willing to pay for it – including Mr. Trump.
“I hope that during Mr. Trump’s time here he is able to learn some things: That being born in another country does not make one a criminal, immigration has made our city and country stronger and in Phoenix our diversity is our strength.”
Trump announced his candidacy in June with a speech that included a remark that portrayed immigrants from Mexico as “bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists, and some, I assume, are good people.” Trump made the comment about immigrants while boasting about his ability to fortify the U.S. southern border, saying “nobody builds walls better than me, believe me.”
He was quickly criticized by several Mexican-American immigrant groups, as well as Mexico’s interior minister, Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, who in a statement said, “the remarks by Donald Trump seem biased and absurd.”
After the speech, multiple countries and companies began cutting ties with the mogul, including NBC, which airs “The Apprentice,” “Celebrity Apprentice” and two Trump-backed beauty pageants.
Trump said he no regrets about his kickoff speech.
“I know the speech went well. There’s nothing in there I didn’t mean,” he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.