MESA, Ariz. — President Donald Trump said Friday night that Democratic immigration policy is so bad that "anybody who votes for a Democrat now is crazy."
Speaking to a crowd of supporters in an airplane hangar here, Trump hammered Democratic leaders with fact and fiction about their positions on immigration, a hot-button issue in this border state that he won by just three points in the 2016 presidential election.
"Let’s get these people out of there," Trump said of elected Democrats. "There’s something wrong. They’re cuckoo."
Two years ago, Trump and his allies excoriated Hillary Clinton for saying she considered half his voters to be in a "basket of deplorables" — with some of the rally-goers here Friday night wearing clothes or holding signs referring to the "deplorables" remark.
For several minutes, Trump spun an argument around a claim that Democrats want to give benefits to undocumented immigrants to entice them to come to the country and vote for Democrats.
"That’s why Democrats want to give illegal aliens free welfare, free health care and free education," Trump said. "Give them a driver's license, next thing you know, they’ll want to buy them a car. Then they’ll say the car’s not good enough — how about a Rolls Royce."
And, Trump said, "Democrats want to give illegal immigrants the right to vote."
No congressional Democratic leader has proposed allowing non-citizens to vote, though the majority of Democrats who voted on a House Republican resolution condemning the idea of enfranchising undocumented immigrants voted no.
Undocumented immigrants are not eligible for federal benefits under programs that would likely fall under the "welfare" umbrella — there's no longer a federal "welfare" program — and there has not been a serious push by Democrats to cover them.
Trump was in town to campaign for Rep. Martha McSally, who is trying to win the Senate seat currently held by retiring Republican Jeff Flake. McSally is locked in one of the closest races in the nation — one that could help determine which party controls the Senate next year — with Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema.
Trump arrived here on Marine One, disembarking a few steps ahead of McSally, who waved to the crowd less than 100 yards away. Trump praised her and warned Arizona Republicans not to be "complacent" about the upcoming midterm elections.
McSally spoke briefly, pointing to her own experience as a combat pilot and Sinema's record of activism. "I was wearing a flight suit and she was wearing a pink tutu," she said.