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President Trump Criticizes Arizona Sens. McCain, Flake At Phoenix Rally

President Donald Trump
Mariana Dale/KJZZ
President Donald Trump speaks to a crowd at the Phoenix Convention Center on Aug. 22, 2017.

T-shirts, hats and signs with the words “Make America Great Again” dominated the crowd of supporters at President Donald Trump’s rally in Phoenix on Tuesday night. There were two notable Arizona leaders who were not in the crowd.

President Trump did not mention Sens. Jeff Flake and John McCain by name, but his speech made it clear he was unhappy with the pair. He lamented the failed Senate health care repeal proposal. 

“One vote away. I will not mention any names,” he said.

McCain joined two other Republican senators and all Democrats in rejecting the health care repeal. Trump also took a shot at Arizona’s junior senator, Jeff Flake.

“And nobody wants me to talk about your other senator, who’s weak on borders and weak on crime, so I won’t talk about him," Trump said.

Trump did not indicate support for any specific opponent of Flake in the 2018 race for his Arizona Senate seat.

Trump applauded three of Arizona's Republican representatives — Paul Gosar, Trent Franks and Andy Biggs — and also complimented Arizona's governor.

"You have a hell of a governor, Gov. Ducey," Trump said.

The rest of Trump's speech was largely composed of his greatest campaign hits. He reiterated his plan to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico and bring back American jobs.

An audience of thousands cheered and, when prompted, booed.

Mille Kasischke, like many in the crowd, wore a "Make America Great Again" ballcap. 

“I just think Donald Trump is one fantastic person to be a multimillionaire and dedicate his life for the next four years to make America greater," said Kasischke.

The Sun City resident said she most hopes for the Affordable Care Act to be repealed, another promise Trump says he intends to keep.

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Mariana Dale rustles up stories as a senior field correspondent based out of KJZZ’s East Valley Bureau in Tempe. She’s followed a microphone onto cattle ranches, to the Dominican Republic and many places in between. Dale believes in a story’s strength to introduce us to diverse perspectives, inspire curiosity and hold public leaders accountable for their actions. She started at KJZZ on the digital team in 2016 and still spends a lot of time thinking about how to engage with our community online. Dale has learned from stints at Arizona Public Media, The Arizona Daily Star, The Arizona Republic and as an intern at NPR’s Morning Edition in Culver City. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Dale is grateful for the mentoring of the New York Times Student Journalism Institute, the Chips Quinn Scholars program and AIR’s New Voices Scholars. A desert native, she loves spending time outside hiking, tending to her cactus and reading.