The Trump campaign bus arrived at the Payson Republican headquarters on Thursday afternoon, August 20th, to a cheering audience of nearly 100 Republican/Trump supporters who lined the sidewalk and filled the parking lot. Included was a Marine veteran in a wheelchair. The Trump Team bus, having been in Flagstaff earlier in the day, was visiting rural areas to speak to local voters.
The big red bus plastered with large letters “Team Trump on Tour” parked alongside the Beeline Highway and received a nearly continuous stream of supporting honking horns from passing cars.
Onboard were Congressman Andy Biggs, representing the southeast Phoenix/Gilbert area, Trump Campaign Chief Operating Officer Jeff DeWitt, formally the Arizona State Treasurer, and Matthew Whitaker who served as the acting U.S. Attorney General between the departure of Jeff Sessions and the appointment of William Barr.
Speaking to a cheering crowd in the parking lot, Gila County Republican Party Chairman Gary Morris and Payson Mayor Tom Morrissey welcomed the Trump team members.
Congressman Biggs was the first to deliver remarks stating, “rural America is real America!” The Congressman then went on to tout several major promises that President Trump has kept which benefited Americans. He complained that Democrats “want open borders, and sanctuary cities while Republicans want law and order”.
Congressman Biggs took a few moments to recognize retired Republican, and 30-year career Marine veteran, Bill Leblanc, who has placed more than 75,000 phone calls to voters in support of President Trump’s re-election.
Mr. DeWitt also commented that rural America is the real America and pointed out that while “Republicans talk about safe and secure neighborhoods and communities; Democrats talk about defunding police. We talk about riots in Portland and other cities; they talk about peaceful protesters.” He stated that “Vice President Biden won’t restore law and order, but President Trump will”.
Mr. DeWitt added, “I think one of the most important issues in Arizona, as we all know, is the Second Amendment and we must protect it!”
Former Acting U.S. Attorney General Matt Whitaker opened his comments by stating, “Everybody is against President Trump, but he is eating them up like candy bars!” which brought cheers from the crowd. He then went on to express his concern that the future of the American Republic is at risk of being lost.
Mr. Whitaker recognized three Payson police officers protecting the gathering and commented that all Americans should support law enforcement. He cited that more than 700 officers have been injured in the recent rioting, and some killed, and that we must restore law and order.
Mayor Morrissey closed the event stating that “if law and order is not restored to the country, America will devolve into a civil war which is ultimately what Democrats want”.
Gila County is good country for the Trump campaign. Gila County gave President Trump 64 percent of the vote in 2016 and Arizona’s 11 electoral votes were critical in Trump’s win. In the latest decade, Republican voter registrations have substantially increased from nearly 15 percent behind Democrats to now 61 percent ahead of Democrats. That record increase will again contribute to a Trump victory.
Gila County Republican Party Chairman commented about the events turnout. “The large crowd represents a level of enthusiasm that I don’t see in Democrats. We’ve had nearly 5,000 visitors to our Republican headquarters while the Democrat headquarters appears to be vacant”.
Gary P. Morris, Chairman, Gila County Republican Committee