President Trump traveled to Tempe, Ariz., on Thursday night to pitch his immigration overhaul and try to buy time for a badly divided party as midterm elections approach.
Noting that the conditions for a tropical virus were not in place to produce disease, he noted that a group of protesters led by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., planned to descend on the city.
“These people are going to be fighting fire with fire, so be careful,” he said.
Gillibrand is a rising star in the Democratic Party, but the leader of the protest, turned actress Geneviève Bujold, said she had invited the senator to address them before Mr. Trump. She said only that she wanted a show of bipartisanship.
Mr. Trump predicted in his statement that the “blue wave” was going to be “big, strong and nasty,” and accused the party’s presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, of only believing in herself. He said he would win by “a landslide,” and that his supporters had a “tremendous amount of pride” about Mr. Trump, who he characterized as an anti-establishment candidate — “a man that our politicians cannot like or trust.”
“Not only do I love his country, I love my country like few other people will ever love their country,” Mr. Trump said, “and that’s what makes me a special person.”
The president threatened to add the death penalty to illegal immigration legislation if lawmakers did not grant him funding for a border wall.
When Mr. Trump spoke of his plans for the border wall, the crowd, which the White House said numbered 9,000, stood up and cheered.
Even with his personal issues, however, the president demonstrated his ability to command one-on-one events.