Inspecting the wall on Tuesday, Trump boasted that the wall has halted both illegal immigrants and the spread of COVID-19 to the United States.
“It stopped COVID, it stopped everything,” Trump said.
Trump was looking to regain campaign momentum after his weekend rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which was supposed to be a sign of the nation’s reopening.
Low turnout for the rally, however, sharpened the focus on Trump’s visit to Arizona, which doubles as both a 2020 battleground state and a surging coronavirus hot spot.
“Our border has never been more secure,” Trump declared as he met with Arizona Republican Governor Doug Ducey and federal Border Patrol officials.
Later in the day, Trump addressed a group of young Republicans at a Phoenix megachurch. The “Students for Trump” event at the Dream City Church is part of a special project of Turning Point Action, a group chaired by Trump ally Charlie Kirk.
Campaign officials stressed that such rallies would remain a staple of the president’s re-election strategy but allowed that they may, in certain states, need to change slightly. Discussions were under way about having them in more modest venues or outdoors, perhaps in aeroplane hangars and amphitheatres, or in smaller cities away from likely protesters.
Trump’s visit to the Phoenix church comes on the same day that Vice President Mike Pence kicked off a faith-centred tour, highlighting the central position that religious conservatives – particularly white evangelicals, but also right-leaning Catholics – continue to occupy in the president’s base.
Yet, even as Trump’s campaign overtly courts religious voters, there are signs of softening support among voting blocs the president cannot afford to lose.
Trump’s focus on construction of his long-promised border wall also is meant to shore up support with his most loyal supporters.