MESA, Ariz. — President Trump railed against migrants traveling toward the southern border Friday, telling supporters in this border state that, “this country doesn’t want them.”
Thousands of migrants traveling in a caravan broke a border fence between Guatemala and Mexico on Friday, and some were met by Mexican police.
“Right now as you know, they’re fighting some bad people,” Trump said of Mexican authorities.
“There are some bad people in that group,” Trump said. “This country doesn’t want them.”
On Thursday, Trump had threatened to close the U.S. border if Mexico failed to stop the caravan.
Trump repeated a favorite phrase for what he calls immigrant criminals, “bad hombre,” and complained about misuse of “chain migration,” the policy of legal family immigration that helped his in-laws come to the United States from Slovenia.
Democrats, Trump said, want to give immigrants free livelihoods with no strings.
“Next thing you know, they’ll want to buy ‘em a car,” Trump said.
Maybe, he said, a “Rolls-Royce, made not in America so I hope that’s not what we do.”
Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski has said Trump owned a Rolls-Royce and drove the British-made luxury car early in the presidential campaign.
“Democrats believe our country should be a giant sanctuary city for criminal aliens,” Trump said.
“Republicans believe our country should be a sanctuary for law-abiding Americans.”
Trump was campaigning for Republican Rep. Martha McSally, who is trying to win the Senate seat held by retiring Sen. Jeff Flake, a frequent Trump critic. McSally, a former Air Force officer and combat pilot, was also a Trump critic in 2016, when her Tucson district voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton.
McSally has since become a strong Trump ally.
“She’s tough and she’s brave and she can fly an airplane better than anybody,” Trump said Friday.
Trump called McSally’s opponent, Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, “a far-left extremist,” and claimed that Sinema “is being protected by the fake news back there,” a reference to news media covering his rally.
McSally hailed Trump’s tough stance on border security, prompting a chant of “Build the Wall.”
“This is personal for us in Arizona,” McSally said.
Recent polls show the race neck and neck, offering Democrats one of their best chances to pick up a Senate seat.
Early voting is underway in the state, and Trump told the crowd he wouldn’t mind if people wanted to leave early to cast a ballot.
McSally was asked earlier this week whether she would encourage Trump not to refer to a woman as “horseface,” as he did in a tweet about Stormy Daniels, who claims that she had a sexual relationship with the president.
“I didn’t agree with that. I thought it was inappropriate, okay,” McSally said, according to NBC. “I thought it was inappropriate. That’s an absurd question.”
Trump roused the crowd to cheers and laughter when he joked that, “I can no longer call her Pocahontas,” referring to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a frequent Trump foil. “She has no Indian blood!”
Warren has released results of a DNA test showing she had some Native American heritage, answering Trump’s assertion that she had falsely claimed that heritage.
Since she was elected to Congress in 2012, Sinema has refashioned herself from the ardent liberal who served in the Arizona Legislature to an aisle-crossing moderate who votes with Trump more than nearly any other Democrat in the House.
Sinema touts herself as more of an independent than a Democrat, and in a recent radio interview declined to say whether she’ll vote for David Garcia, the Democratic nominee for Arizona governor.
McSally and outside groups have reminded voters that Sinema was once a liberal activist, and that she used to advocate for closing Luke Air Force Base on the western edge of the Phoenix metro area.
Sinema’s past is no secret, but the Senate race has surfaced new nuggets, including a video showed her referring to Arizona as the “meth lab of democracy.”
During a debate Monday, McSally accused Sinema of “treason” for 2003 comments she had made that were critical of U.S. intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Stan Houston, a resident of Apache Junction, said he thinks McSally has the race in hand.
“If you listen to CNN and MSNBC, she’s not going to make it. But if you listen to the people that are out there voting for her, she’s going to make it,” Houston said.
Several rallygoers were skeptical that Sinema is leading.
“They were wrong before. Why can’t they be wrong again?” Juanita Richardson, a Tucson resident who drove up to Mesa for the rally, referring to’ the many polls that showed Hillary Clinton defeating Trump in 2016.
Phoenix resident Lizzy Durso described herself as a “silent supporter” of Trump who now feels comfortable enough to back the president openly and attend her first rally for him, and said she’s one of many. That same silent support will help carry McSally to victory, she said.
Emily Guskin contributed from Washington.