As a caravan of about 3,000 migrants from Central America heads toward the U.S. border, President Donald Trump blamed the Democrats on Friday for the surge in illegal border crossings at a rally in Mesa, Arizona.
“Democrats believe that illegal border crossers should be set free,” Trump said, though he did not identify any Democrats who have said this by name. “Democrats believe our country should be a giant sanctuary city for criminal aliens.”
Trump was stumping for Republican candidates in the state where security along the U.S.-Mexican border is a critical issue for voters. The thousands of Trump supporters who packed a local airplane hanger often broke out in “build the wall” chants as the president talked about border security.
“Democrats want to throw your borders wide open to criminals; I wanna build a wall,” Trump said. “The Democrats don’t care that a flood of illegal immigration is going to bankrupt our country.”
Arizona is the second stop on the president’s western swing. On Thursday, Trump stumped for Republicans in Montana and on Saturday he heads to Elko, Nevada, for another rally.
Trump won Arizona by a little over 3 percentage points in the 2016 general election. Republican Senate candidate Rep. Martha McSally is neck-in-neck in the polls with her Democratic challenger, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, to fill the seat vacated by Republican Sen. Jeff Flake.
The outcome of the hotly contested race could determine which party controls the Senate. The Republicans currently control the Senate by a two-seat majority.
Even though Sinema has positioned herself as a moderate, Trump called her a “far-left extremist” who would vote along party lines on Friday. He claimed that Sinema is against the border wall and supports sanctuary cities, even though Sinema has called for increased border security, including a physical barrier, but has called the wall “an 18th-century solution.”
“A vote for Kyrsten Sinema is a wasted vote, but more importantly it's a dangerous vote,” Trump said to the raucous crowd.
“She voted against the border wall. ... Kyrsten Sinema voted to support deadly sanctuary cities.”
Trump did not mention the death of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi.
He did return to attacking Sen. Elizabeth Warren over her Native American ancestry. For the second straight rally -- in a state with the country's second-largest Native American population -- he attacked the Massachusetts senator for taking a DNA test that strongly supported she had an "unadmixed Native American ancestor" in her pedigree from six to 10 generations ago.
“We're gonna have to come up with another name, I can't use the word Pocahontas anymore,” he said. “I have more Indian blood than she has, and I have none.”