Opinion: Four takeaways from Trump’s rally speech in Phoenix

Aug 23, 2017, 12:15 PM | Updated: 2:41 pm

President Donald Trump speaks at a rally at the Phoenix Convention Center, Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017, ...

President Donald Trump speaks at a rally at the Phoenix Convention Center, Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Now that the tear gas and smoke bombs have cleared in downtown Phoenix, I think there are a few solid takeaways from the president’s visit and speech Tuesday night.

The wall

I think President Donald Trump missed a huge opportunity to further his cause of building a border wall.

He mentioned the wall in his speech. He even threatened to shut Congress down in order to prove his point that he will not relent on constructing the wall.

But if you remember, Trump was supposed to visit the border on Tuesday. That visit was removed from the calendar as he was landing in Yuma.

The Secret Service said it was their call, claiming the border was unsafe for the president.

I can’t think of a better opportunity for Trump to talk about the violence that he claims is raging on our southern borders than to tell the nation that he couldn’t visit because it was deemed too dangerous by those sworn to protect him.

It was a missed opportunity.

The media

In Trump’s speech, he took direct aim at not only what he calls the dishonest media, he went after specific organizations by name.

This is when Trump abandoned his teleprompters. You can always tell when he goes off-script as he stops looking from side to side and spouts gems such as, “I can tell you that much” or “Just so you know.”

Trump was unhinged.

This, of course, was at a campaign-funded event, so it’s not surprising that Trump used this tactic to rally his base.

If we have only learned one thing from Trump, it is that he is a master when it comes to media hype. He is a Jedi at dominating the news cycle.

As an example, he took on CNN. I can assure you that there will be very little or no coverage of North Korea or Charlottesville on CNN on Wednesday.

Their new story will be attacking the president. Trump knew that this would happen. That’s why he fired first.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio

The White House on Tuesday took an official position that Trump would not pardon former Arpiao at the Phoenix rally.

The statement held, but I had my doubts. The president was off-script, off teleprompter and unhinged. He could not help himself but to bring up Arpaio:

“You know what, I’ll make a prediction: I think he’s going to be just fine, OK? But I won’t do it tonight, because I don’t want to cause any controversy,” the president said. “But sheriff Joe should feel good.”

This is crazy but not surprising at all. For those that are happy about the president’s prediction, you obviously think Arpaio is above the law. Or maybe you think that all of his good deeds outweigh the bad.

If you are upset about this, breathe easy. Arpaio was most likely never going to see the inside of a jail cell. He’s too old and deals would have been made.

It’s all politics and optics.

Our senators

Tuesday’s speech probably gave Sen. Jeff Flake a few reasons to lose some sleep.

Dr. Kelli Ward was in the house and Arizona Treasurer Jeff DeWit was actually given the podium! Ward is running against Flake while DeWit still could enter the race.

Now that I am learning to speak fluent Trump, I can tell you this was a clear signal that he will put the full weight of the presidency behind one of these two individuals as they take on Flake in next year’s primary.

Then it was Sen. John McCain that was called out by the president. Well, not by name. I was waiting for him to say, “I won’t say his name, but it rhymes with Don McLane.”

He called McCain when maligning the Senate’s failure to pass the a measure to repeal and replace Obamacare.

McCain was the no vote that sunk the proposed legislation. Several times, the president shouted that the legislation needed “one more vote” to pass.

To Trump loyalists, McCain might become known as John “One More Vote” McCain.

Michael Russell

Mike Russell

Opinion: This walkout most likely will backfire on our teachers

Arizona teachers are refusing to recognize the optics of a walkout and don't seem to realize that it could alienate parents. There's a better way.

6 years ago

(Twitter Photo; Instagram Photo)...

Mike Russell

Opinion: Jay Feely’s prom photo with gun is dad’s right to make a joke

Over the weekend former Arizona Cardinals kicker Jay Feely posted a picture on social media of his daughter and her date before heading to prom. The social media trolls jumped all over it.

6 years ago

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)...

Mike Russell

Opinion: Federal bump stock ban should worry both sides of the aisle

Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants to criminalize bump stocks. Mike Russell doesn't like them, but said the ban should worry both sides of the aisle.

6 years ago

Zachary Chakin holds up a sign as crowds of people participate in the March for Our Lives rally in ...

Mike Russell

Opinion: Takes on the past weekend’s three biggest stories

The first weekend of spring has sprung three huge news stories on us. Here’s Mike Russell's takes on this weekend’s big news hat trick.

6 years ago


Mike Russell

Opinion: HSUS’s accreditation drop should serve as wakeup call

The recent problems facing The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) should be a wakeup call for all of us that give to ANY charity.

6 years ago

(AP Photo/Adam Beam)...

Mike Russell

Opinion: Red for Ed duped Arizonans into backing politics, not teachers

Mike Russell writes that Arizonans were duped Wednesday when they wore red to support teachers. Instead, the unwittingly supported a political candidate.

6 years ago

Sponsored Articles


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.


Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

Opinion: Four takeaways from Trump’s rally speech in Phoenix