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  • Article: In Arizona Speech, President Trump Defends His Charlottesville Response, Attacks "Fake News," and Touts His Immigration Record By Kevin Johnson

    In Arizona Speech, President Trump Defends His Charlottesville Response, Attacks "Fake News," and Touts His Immigration Record


    After a tumultuous week marred by the events in Charlottesville, Virginia and criticisms over the President's response, President Trump gave a campaign-style speech in Phoenix, Arizona last night. Vice President Mike Pence was at Trump's side and Ben Carson , Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development , was on stage.

    The President's speech was over an hour in length. He did not have it fully scripted but, at times, pulled out paper that he read from. As the Washington Post reports, "President Trump on Tuesday threatened to shut down the government over border wall funding, said the North American Free Trade Agreement is likely to be terminated and signaled that he was prepared to pardon former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio , who is anathema to the Latino community. . . . Trump’s freewheeling comments came at a boisterous campaign rally here during which he also went on an extended diatribe about the media, blaming reporters for the negative fallout he has received over his responses to the hate-fueled violence in Charlottesville."

    In what CNN's Don Lemon characterized as "a total eclipse of the facts ," much of the President's remarks focused on defending his response to the events in Charlottesville and claiming that the "fake news" failed to fully and fairly report what he said. CNN, the New York Times, and the Washington Post were attacked by name. Fox was lauded as being fair to the President.

    The speech did not focus quite as much on immigration as I thought he would. It, however, was one of the few policy issues that the President went into any detail on in his speech, perhaps attempting to pivot from the focus on Charlottesville. President Trump appealed to his base and played his "greatest hits" of immigration, including his promise to build a wall along the U.S./Mexico border, increase enforcement to remove "the gangs" and protect Americans, etc. President Trump referred to MS13 members as "animals" deserving removal and spoke of the great job that his administration was doing on immigration enforcement.

    Protesters marched in Phoenix and some reportedly were arrested. During his speech, President Trump stated that there were few protesters. CNN reported that there were "thousands." Police used tear gas late in the evening to disperse the crowd.

    President Trump's remarks ended and were followed by the Rolling Stones' song "You Can't Always Get What You Want." I agreed with the song title at that moment and wondered what message the President hoped to send with that song.


    This post originally appeared on Law Professor Blogs © 2014-2017 by Law Professor Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

    About The Author

    Kevin Johnson Kevin Johnson is Dean, Mabie-Apallas Professor of Public Interest Law, and Professor of Chicana/o Studies. He joined the UC Davis law faculty in 1989 and was named Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in 1998. Johnson became Dean in 2008. He has taught a wide array of classes, including immigration law, civil procedure, complex litigation, Latinos and Latinas and the law, and Critical Race Theory. In 1993, he was the recipient of the law school's Distinguished Teaching Award.Dean Johnson has published extensively on immigration law and civil rights. Published in 1999, his book How Did You Get to Be Mexican? A White/Brown Man's Search for Identity was nominated for the 2000 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. Dean Johnson’s latest book, Immigration Law and the US-Mexico Border (2011), received the Latino Literacy Now’s International Latino Book Awards – Best Reference Book. Dean Johnson blogs at ImmigrationProf, and is a regular contributor on immigration on SCOTUSblog. A regular participant in national and international conferences, Dean Johnson has also held leadership positions in the Association of American Law Schools and is the recipient of an array of honors and awards. He is quoted regularly by the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and other national and international news outlets.

    The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
      ImmigrationLawBlogs -
      One message that the president evidently hoped to send with his speech, if not with his song, is that Latino, Muslim and other non-white immigrants are not welcome in Donald Trump's America. Neither is a free press or any other institution that stands in the way of Trump's absolute power.

      If America continues on the path that Trump has been laying out in the first seven months of his presidency, we may wind up becoming a very different country from the one that anyone besides Trump and his inner circle could have imagined before last year's election.

      America could become much more like Russia, China or North Korea, not the democracy that we have all grown up taking for granted.

      Roger Algase
      Attorney at Law
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