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Trump draws large crowd in Phoenix heat

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By Cole Lauterbach
The Center Square 

Former President Donald Trump has kicked off a western U.S. campaign tour, stopping in Phoenix on Thursday.

Though the rally was held indoors at the Dream City Church, the heat outside of the event sent several people to the hospital, according to multiple news reports. The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning until Friday night for the Phoenix area, noting highs reaching near 110 degrees later in the day. Like previous events held at the church, Thursday's event, which was held by Trump-allied Turning Point Action, was expected to draw upward of 3,000 people.

"We're going to win the great state of Arizona and tell crooked Joe Biden, 'you're fired!'" Trump said to a cheering crowd.

Trump name-dropped several of his endorsed candidates in Arizona, including U.S. Senate candidate Kari Lake, congressional contender Abe Hamadeh, and invited former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio on stage.

The campaign stop was his first since being convicted on 34 counts tied to hush money payments to an adult film star amid his 2016 presidential campaign.

"I just went through a rigged trial in New York with a highly-conflicted judge," Trump said Thursday.

Biden defeated Trump in Arizona's 2020 Presidential election by a slim margin of fewer than 10,000 votes, a result many of his supporters deny was legitimate.

Trump leaned heavily into immigration, a hot-button topic for Arizona voters.

"They are pouring through your state at levels never seen before," he said. "We are being invaded."

Arizona's Tucson sector continues to be one of the nation's busiest for illegal crossings, according to Customs and Border Protection data. As of May 3, CBP lists 373,220 migrant encounters coming through the Tucson sector. The data reflects a 107% increase year-to-date increase compared to the prior fiscal year. That figure does not include "gotaways," which refers to migrants encountered but not apprehended as they cross the border.

"Crooked Joe Biden has imported more illegal aliens than the total of 40 of our 50 states, and soon that's going to be a much higher number," Trump said.

A poll conducted by Noble Predictive Insights from May 7–14 found Trump with a 44%-41% lead over Biden in Arizona, with Biden's numbers having fallen since NPI's poll data in previous election cycles.

The poll surveyed 1,003 registered voters in Arizona, yielding a margin of error of ± 3.09%.

"If we don't win, this country is finished," Trump said.

The former president is scheduled to appear in Las Vegas on Sunday. 

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