Protesters block road outside Donald Trump rally, so supporters walk instead


Donald Trump heads to Arizona to campaign ahead of Tuesday’s Republican primary.

  • Trump protesters cut off road to his first rally of the day in Arizona
  • In Tucson, video shows Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski grabbing a protester
  • Mitt Romney endorsed Ted Cruz for the GOP presidential nomination
  • Trump attacks Megyn Kelly again
  • John Kasich is talking about religion on the campaign trail in Utah

Video shows Trump’s campaign manager grabbing protester in Arizona

Video from a Donald Trump rally in Tucson on Saturday appears to show the billionaire businessman’s campaign manager grabbing the collar of a protester, who then stumbled backward.

The rally inside the Tucson Convention Center came after Trump spoke to supporters earlier in the day in a Phoenix suburb where he was also met by protesters.

In the video, posted by a CBS News reporter, a man who is identified as campaign manager Corey Lewandowski grabs a young protester by the collar.

Trump’s campaign pointed to another man in the video as having tugged the protester hard enough to jar him; the video is inconclusive on that point, though it clearly shows Lewandowski grabbing hold of the man’s shirt.

“Mr. Trump does not condone violence at his rallies,” campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said.

In recent weeks, Lewandowski has been at the forefront of controversy.

Earlier this month, Michelle Fields, a reporter for the conservative news outlet Breitbart, was attempting to ask Trump a question as he exited a news conference at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., when, she said, someone forcibly pushed her out the way.

Fields said she didn’t see who grabbed her, but a reporter from the Washington Post identified Lewandowski as having yanked Fields.

Fields, who has since resigned from Breitbart, filed a police report. No charges have been filed.

Lewandowski has denied the allegations.


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Tense confrontations at Trump rally, but no violence

Hundreds of Donald Trump supporters abandoned their cars on a highway Saturday and walked three miles to the GOP front-runner’s rally after protesters shut the main road leading to the park where he was speaking.

Doyle Perry, 66, walked with a cane because of nerve damage to his foot from a bullet wound he suffered while serving in the Army.

“I’m looking at all the candidates,” Perry said, adding that he favored Sen. Ted Cruz. “But Trump’s going to win” the Arizona primary on Tuesday.

Hundreds of Trump supporters arrived too late to enter the rally, and watched from a bluff alongside protesters who used megaphones to try to drown out Trump. A handful of scuffles broke out.

A group of young people chanted, “No KKK, no fascist! USA, no Trump!” Backers of Trump tried to yell louder: “USA! USA!”

Cindy, a 50-year-old who declined to give her last name, approached a young woman and screamed inches from her face: “You’re nobody for being here. He’s a good man.”

The protester replied, “He’s done nothing to be a good man” and railed about Trump’s treatment of minorities.

The two bumped each other and accused each other of assault before separating.

Cindy later said she was a retired police officer who moved to Fountain Hills from New York City 20 years ago.

“I know Donald Trump. I grew up with the Trump family. They have done so much for New York City. They’re good, caring, honest people,” she said.

Jason Gall, an adjuster from Scottsdale and a Democrat, surveyed the scene and said it depressed him.

“I had to come and just see who these people are who are supporting this guy who I don’t believe is qualified to be president,” said the 52-year-old, who was wearing a shirt with an obscenity and Trump’s last name. “They’re bitter people, that’s for sure. I think that Republicans have fostered that. The Hannitys, Limbaughs, Coulters, they’ve preached hate for so long, and this is the result.”


Donald Trump hits rivals on immigration as he rallies Arizona GOP

Donald Trump struck a combative posture on illegal immigration Saturday as he sought to rally Arizona Republicans three days before the state’s winner-take-all presidential primary.

Speaking to several thousand supporters in this conservative white suburb of Phoenix, the New York billionaire described himself as tougher than rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich on illegal immigration.

Cruz “wasn’t born in our country, folks,” Trump told the crowd at the outdoor rally in a hot Sonoran Desert park. “He was born in Canada. He’s weak on immigration. He’s in favor of amnesty.

“Kasich is a nice guy,” he added, “but honestly very weak on illegal immigration. That’s the end of him, certainly as far as Phoenix is concerned, and as far as Arizona is concerned.”

Trump protesters, who tried to disrupt the rally by blocking the main access road, yelled from a distance, “Trump is hate!” But uniformed deputies from Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office kept them so far from the event that they could barely be heard.

Arpaio and former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, both icons of Arizona’s stringent measures against illegal immigration, introduced Trump, praising him for vowing to build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico.

Arpaio suggested taking away Mexico’s foreign aid and using it to pay for the wall if Mexico refuses to put up the money, as Trump has demanded. Arpaio also mentioned the “little problem” with protesters blocking the road.

“Three of them are in jail,” he told the crowd, to a burst of cheers. Multiple news outlets reported the same number of arrests.

In advance of Tuesday’s primary, Trump is running a TV ad that says he will “stop illegal immigration” by building the wall and bar Muslims from entering the United States as a temporary step to prevent terrorism.

“We’re going to have a big, beautiful wall that nobody’s crossing,” Trump told the crowd at the rally. “And nobody’s going underneath either, by the way, just in case you had any question. Don’t worry about the tunnel stuff. Nobody’s going under it or over it.”


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Donald Trump attacks media, calls for his ‘silent majority’ to rise up at Arizona rally


Protesters and Trump supporters clash in the desert

More than 100 protesters blocked the main entrance to Donald Trump’s campaign rally here Saturday, chanting that he was a racist who was not welcome in their state.

“Get the clown out of my town!” protesters shouted, carrying signs that read, among other things, “Love Trumps Hate” and “Combat White Supremacy.”

“Trump is very misogynistic, racist, sexist and a fascist,” said Jeanne Mayeux, a 52-year-old Fountain Hills resident who carried a sign that said “Stand Against Racism.” She is a member of MoveOn, one of several liberal groups that organized the protest. “I believe he would be a real danger if he gets into office. He would be our new Hitler.”

The protest took place about three miles from Trump’s rally, creating gridlock and drawing a heavy presence of sheriff’s deputies and police officers. It grew tense at moments, as drivers edged closer to protesters, and protesters splayed themselves on the hoods of cars.

Protesters would be arrested if they failed to get out of the street, Maricopa County sheriff’s deputies said.

“Are you ready to go to jail? I’m calling a wagon,” one deputy warned.

Bill and Evelyn Hoffman, retirees from Rio Verde, were in the first car directly facing the protesters.

“This is a bunch of nuts, but that’s all right; they have their rights,” said Bill Hoffman, sporting a black cap with Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.

The couple are registered Republicans but undecided about who they will support in Tuesday’s primary.

“I don’t like his methods, but what he stands for I believe in,” said Bill Hoffman, 80.

Evelyn Hoffman, 76, added, “He got the whole country interested in politics, and he’s indebted to nobody.”

Around 11 a.m., the protesters began marching to the rally, and a caravan of law-enforcement vehicles followed with their lights flashing. The road remained blocked, so hundreds of Trump supporters abandoned their cars on the freeway and began walking to the rally.


Why protesters blocked the road leading to Donald Trump’s rally

The Times’ Seema Mehta is reporting from Fountain Hills, Ariz., site of Saturday’s Donald Trump rally and protests. Follow her on Twitter for updates from the scene.


Protesters are blocking traffic outside Donald Trump’s rally in Arizona


Super PAC uses Mitt Romney’s words to attack Donald Trump in Utah

A super PAC that has sought to blunt Donald Trump’s momentum is airing a television ad in Utah this weekend featuring 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney assailing the billionaire businessman.

The 30-second spot from Our Principles PAC uses clips from a speech Romney delivered this month in which he called on the Republican Party to reject Trump.

“Dishonesty is Donald Trump’s hallmark,” says Romney in the video. “Think of Donald Trump’s personal qualities -- the bullying, the greed .... “

In recent weeks, the super PAC also created an ad highlighting some of Trump’s inflammatory comments toward women.

The GOP field is courting the support of Mormons, a powerful voting bloc in Tuesday’s caucuses there.

Romney, who is Momon, has formally endorsed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, but did accept Trump’s support when he was the Republican nominee back in 2012.

Now the two have become foes.

On Friday in Utah Trump joked about Romney’s faith.

“Are you sure he’s a Mormon? Are we sure?” Trump, who has a commanding delegate lead, asked supporters.


California’s House Republicans mostly staying out of the presidential race

With California’s June 7 primary election suddenly crucial to the Republicans hoping to win their party’s presidential nomination, attention is shifting to the Golden State. But despite the competitive, high-stakes race, few Republicans in California’s congressional delegation publicly back a candidate at this point.

Only three of the 14 Republican members have endorsed candidates. Some haven’t supported another candidate after the person they endorsed dropped out. Others, including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), haven’t announced who they will support, saying they are waiting for voters to pick the nominee.

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Donald Trump’s campaign threatens to steal tea party thunder

Former Republican vice presidential candidate and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin endorses Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a rally at Iowa State University on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, in Ames, Iowa.
(Mary Altaffer / Associated Press)

Always a bit of a rebel, Debbie Dooley was so frustrated in 2009 over bank bailouts and stimulus packages that she threw herself into organizing Atlanta’s first tea party rally.

Today, the daughter of a Southern preacher has shifted her energy and passion into electing Donald Trump as the latest Washington outsider to shake up the status quo.

No matter that many of Trump’s policies stray from the tea party’s original small-government ideals. The tough-talking billionaire ignites that same anti-establishment fervor that fired up many tea party foot soldiers like Dooley.

In the process, Trump has recast their earlier champions — namely tea party darling Sen. Ted Cruz — as disappointing outsiders-turned-insiders who cater to corporate donors and fail to deliver on big promises.

“The support for Trump is not only a screw-you to the Republican establishment, it’s a screw-you to the conservative establishment,” said Dooley, 57, an energy consultant.

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Republican Party rejects Marco Rubio and the spirit of Ronald Reagan

(David Horsey / Los Angeles Times)

Having lost the primary in his home state of Florida to Donald Trump, Sen. Marco Rubio has dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination, and his departure may be a telling sign that the GOP is no longer the party of Ronald Reagan.

Of all of the 17 Republican candidates who mounted campaigns in the past year, Rubio, arguably, was the most Reaganesque. Like Reagan, Rubio is a doctrine-driven movement conservative. So is Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, but, unlike Cruz — a shrill cultural warrior — Rubio is able to articulate his deep conservative beliefs in a way that is more inclusive and inspirational, much in the Reagan style. And Rubio, like Reagan, has a smile that’s hard to resist. It’s easy to like the guy, even if you disagree with 90% of his policies.

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