President Trump finished 20 minutes during a discordant rally in Phoenix Tuesday night reframing his reply to the assault in Charlottesville by beating the media — then launched a tirade at the state’s two Republican politicians and even advised at pardoning sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Trump accused the “crooked media” for a response he received after holding “many sides” were important for the “Unite the Right” rally that turned harmful when a white supremacist plowed his car into counter-militants — killing one woman and injuring 19 others.
“They don’t need to report the facts — just like they don’t need to report that I spoke out an energetically against disgust and convicted the white supremacists,” he said of the media. “There were two statements and one news meeting.”
Trump never repeated his disputed “many sides” remark Tuesday night but targeted on his censure of racist groups two days after the fighting.
“There were two statements and one news meeting. I hit ‘em with neo-Nazi, I hit ‘em with anything….KKK? We have KKK. I got ‘em all,” he said. “The words were excellent — and for the most part, all they (the media) do is complain. They don’t put on those words.”
Trump confessed to the crowd for devoting such an outsize portion of his nearly 80-minute speech to defending himself.
“I didn’t need to bore you because you find out where I’m coming from,” he told rally-goers.
Trump went on to address two other delicate areas: His criticism of Arizona’s Republican politicians John McCain and Jeff Flake, and his arrangements to pardon disputed sheriff Joe Arpaio.
“One vote away, and I will not reference any names — that’s very presidential is not it?” he said, in a possible reference to McCain, whose vote executing the creation to advance the Obama care repeal bill.
“And nobody needs me to talk about your other politician whose weak on borders, he’s weak on crime,” Trump said in a gibe to Flake. “Nobody needs me to talk about him — nobody appreciates who the misery he is.
“I haven’t specified any names, so now everybody’s happy.”
Neither McCain nor Flake visited the rally.
Trump also indicated he would pardon Arpaio — the Maricopa Nation, Ariz., lawman convicted in July of defiance of court for avoiding a 2011 order that he stop national profiling in his attempts to combat wrongful immigration.
“I’m just interested. Do the people in this room like sheriff Joe? So was sheriff Joe convicted for doing his job?” Trump said.
“He should have had a board, but I’m gonna create a prediction: I think he’s gonna be just good, okay? But I won’t do it tonight because I don’t need to cause any argument. Is that alright? Ok. But sheriff Joe can feel good.”
Trump had already said he was “seriously considering” pardoning Arpaio, but White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Tuesday afternoon that Trump would not transfer it up at the rally.
“No action will be taken on that front at any point today,” she said moments before Air Force One touched down in Arizona.
Trump had to accord with hecklers once during his speech.
“How did he get in here?” Trump said after someone delayed him. “He’s assumed to be with the few people outside.
“All week they were talking about the extensive crowds that were assumed to be outside, well where are they?”
Protests stayed civil in the hours leading up to the rally.
The road outside the Phoenix meeting center was a blockade, and supporters and critic were left shouting at one another from opposite sides of the street. Police with brawl helmets stood by in the center, and disturbances were limited.
In one swap, a Trump supporter and protester shoved each other. In another, the two groups shouted at each other before moving on.