Former President Donald Trump’s first rally of 2022 will be in Florence, where several Republican candidates will take the stage as well.
Trump’s appearance Saturday will be his second in the state since leaving office and underscores his continued importance in GOP circles nearly one year after departing the White House.
Follow coverage of the Trump rally by Republic reporters here throughout the day Saturday.
Friday afternoon: ReAwaken America Tour leads to police calls at Dream City Church
A conservative forum in Phoenix overlapping Donald Trump’s return to Arizona opened Friday with calls to police.
Attendees at the ReAwaken America Tour at Dream City Church taunted teachers from the nearby BASIS Phoenix charter school over masks, school officials confirmed.
The tour, hosted by conservative podcaster Clay Clark and featuring Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, is scheduled to run through Saturday.
Election fraud and pandemic conspiracies dominate the itinerary, including a speech titled, “It’s the COVID-19 Protocols That Are Mass Murdering COVID-19 Patients.”
Other topics include pinpointing where the world is on the Biblical timeline, communicating after the power grid is destroyed and “Jesus is King & Donald Trump is the REAL president of the United States.”
Arizona Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, state Sen. Wendy Rogers, R-Flagstaff, and Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward are among the scheduled speakers.
A pastor at Dream City Church confirmed about a dozen Phoenix police officers responded to the event Friday and the issue had been “taken care of.”
He said ReAwaken America rented space from the church but is not affiliated with the church. He said several armed private security guards were hired by the event.
Dream City has hosted a number of conservative events, including a June movie premiere touting 2020 election conspiracies by key operatives in the Arizona Senate’s largely discredited ballot review.
— Robert Anglen
Early Friday afternoon: Vendors gear up for Trump rally
Days before Donald Trump’s rally in Florence, merchandise vendors were staking out highway pullouts and setting up roadside stands more than 20 miles away.
Vendors dragged tents, tables and Trump gear from the backs of vehicles beginning Wednesday.
Flags and T-shirts fluttered around canopies in at least three spots within a mile of each other Friday on Hunt Highway just over the Maricopa County line in San Tan Valley.
Hunt Highway is one of the central routes for people driving from the East Valley to the Country Thunder venue, where Trump is scheduled to speak at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Passing cars gave the occasional honk as they zoomed past on Friday, earning waves from vendors. “It’s going to be good weekend,” one seller said.
— Robert Anglen
This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Trump rally in Arizona: LIVE updates from Florence