PHOENIX—Donald Trump opened his political rally in Phoenix with calls for unity and an assertion that “our movement is about love.” Then he erupted in anger.
In a wide-ranging speech, the U.S. president touched on everything from his proposed border wall with Mexico to NAFTA negotiations.
He also revisited his lightning rod comments about the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this month, and blamed the media for the widespread condemnation of his response to the protest organized by white supremacists. He shouted that he had “openly called for healing, unity and love” in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy and had simply been misrepresented in news coverage.
On the two other issues, Trump was less conciliatory.
He again threatened to blow up NAFTA—just a single week after renegotiation talks got underway—saying that he doesn’t feel a deal is possible. And in a warning to U.S. lawmakers, he threatened to shut down the federal government unless Congress provides funding for his promised southern border wall.
Trump told the rally crowd in Phoenix, Arizona, that the message was for “obstructionist” Democrats.
“If we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall,” he said.
Trump also accused Democrats of putting American security at risk for not supporting the proposal.
One of Trump’s most popular campaign vows, the comments sparked frequent chants of “Build that wall!” Trump had promised Mexico would pay for the wall, but Mexico has so far refused.
The House has passed a spending bill with funding for the border wall, but it faces an uncertain future in the Senate.
—With files from Julie Bykowicz, The Associated Press