Trump returns to Arizona, urges crowd to restore 'American birthright' of 'honest, fair elections'
Trump arrived in Arizona for the first time since narrowly losing the state in his 2020 reelection bid.
Former President Trump took center stage Saturday night at an election-integrity rally where he told the loud, welcoming audience, "We will not stop until we have restored our American birthright of honest, free and fair elections."
Trump thanked the organizers of the Rally to Protect Our Elections, Turning Point Action and group president Charlie Kirk, for what he called their "fearless leadership."
He also told attendees, "Let me also express my appreciation to the thousands of bold, young, and proud American Patriots that are with us today. What a crowd. … You are the pulse of our movement, you are the ones who will make America Great Again."
Trump arrived in Arizona for the first time since narrowly losing the state in his 2020 reelection bid and amid an audit of last year's presidential election ballots led by Arizona Republicans.
"We are gathered here in Phoenix to show our support for election integrity and for the brave and unyielding conservative warriors in the Arizona State Senate," the former president said at the rally, at the Arizona Federal Theater, in Phoenix.
"I’m hearing Texas wants to do a forensic audit," Trump also said. "Even though I won Texas by a lot, I said you should do it. The 2020 election was a total disgrace.”
The crowd cheered back: You won,” and “Trump, Trump, Trump.”
The former president also called last year’s election “the most corrupt election in our history.”
Prior to the rally Kirk said: "Arizona is at the epicenter of the 2022 midterms and, of course, the next presidential election in 2024. It’s critical that our support is stronger than ever so the average American’s trust in our systems and institutions is restored. We must start earlier and work harder than ever before to save Arizona and the republic."
Trump, who has yet to say publicly whether he'll run again for president in 2024, has said the audit, conducted by an outside auditor in the state's Maricopa County, would uncover enough errors to potentially erase the nearly 11,000-vote deficit he had in the election.
The loss gave now-President Joe Biden Arizona’s 11 Electoral College votes, marking the first time since 1996 a Democrat won the state.
By reporter Laura Baigert