Plus two other Arizona stories.
In an attempt to praise President Donald Trump at his campaign rally on Wednesday, Sen. Martha McSally may have painted herself as a liability to the Trump campaign.
McSally joined Trump and other Republican lawmakers on stage at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum to energize voters for the 2020 elections. Trump voiced his commitment to keeping McSally in the Senate, telling the crowd that she has his “complete and total support and endorsement.”
“Mark Kelly is flying on Bernie Sanders’ wing, and I am flying on your wing, President Trump,” Ms. McSally replied, taking the opportunity to intertwine her success with Trump’s.
But polling released by HighGround Public Affairs that day shows McSally trailing behind Democratic challenger Mark Kelly by nearly seven points. And for Trump, whose net approval rating in Arizona has dropped by 21 points since he took office, McSally’s loyalty pledge may begin to feel like more of a burden than a boon.
Rubble from sacred land lines Trump’s border wall
Outrage over the destruction of wildlife and sacred grounds to make way for Trump’s border wall reignited this week at the U.S. – Mexico border. The outcry Center for Biological Diversity’s Laiken Jordahl took his Twitter followers on an unfiltered tour of the demolition sites.
“We’ve been documenting Border Patrol’s total disregard for the land and butchering of cactus here in Organ Pipe gone on for many months,” Laiken posted. “But this is the first time – today – I’ve ever seen an organ pipe cactus discarded into a trash pile.”
Members of the Tohono O’odham Nation have also decried the demolition for its disrespect and desecration of land the tribe reveres as sacred. Horrified that sacred sites like ancestral burial grounds would be destroyed to build a wall, tribal youth made their way to Phoenix Wednesday to protest the wall outside of Trump’s campaign rally.
Another GOP lawmaker silences opposition at Capitol
Opponents of a bill that would allow immigration officials access to voter roles were denied the opportunity to speak at a committee hearing on Tuesday after Rep. Kelly Townsend, R-Mesa, before a vote could take place.
Randy Perez, an organizer for Living United for Change in Arizona, was giving testimony against HB 2304 when Townsend called for the hearing to close. After ending the meeting, Townsend confronted Perez and threw him out of the room and permanently banned him from her committee.
This is the second time in the past week that opponents to a bill were barred from giving testimony and ejected from meetings by GOP legislators. On Feb. 13, Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, R-Gilbert, called in state troopers to remove opponents to the anti-sanctuary city resolution from the Capitol.
The incident began when Farnsworth cut off testimony that called the legislation racist and escalated when those in attendance demanded they all be given time to speak.
The group representing those who were removed have since filed an ethics complaint against Farnsworth. After Tuesday’s meeting, Townsend announced plans to file ethics complaints against two Democratic committee members who defended Perez’s actions.