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Aug. 22, 2017, 10:15 p.m.

Trump’s Phoenix speech drew chants from crowd and criticism from social media

President Trump played some of his greatest hits Tuesday night.

The president made a 90-minute speech during a campaign-style rally in Phoenix. He began by complaining about his old foe, the “truly dishonest people” in the media, then moved on to a rehash of his widely criticized response to the racial violence at Charlottesville, Va., this month, omitting his claim — the one that led to most of the criticism — that “many sides” had been responsible for the trouble.

At different points, the crowd chanted “USA!” “Drain the swamp!” and “Lock her up!,” some of the unofficial mottos of last year’s presidential campaign.

The rally was streamed live on TV and online, which meant people on social media were able to essentially do live fact -checks.

Early on, Trump asserted that “very few people even showed up” to protest the rally, prompted people to start retweeting images of the thousands of people demonstrating outside. (After his speech ended, police used tear gas on protesters.)

Trump also said the media wouldn’t show the size of the crowd inside the venue. But a reporter for U.S. News & World Report tweeted photos and video of what the assembly looked like.

At a couple of points during the speech, Trump said cameras were being turned off because networks didn’t want to show his speech. “They’re very nervous to have me on live television,” Trump told the crowd in a speech that was being aired live in numerous places on television and online — including CNN.

Trump appeared to have been urged by aides to avoid calling out specific people in his party. As he lamented the Senate’s failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act, he told the crowd, “They said, ‘Please, please, Mr. President, don’t mention any names.’ So I won’t. I won’t.… One vote away! I will not mention any names. Very presidential, isn’t it?”

Later on, he said, “Nobody wants me to talk about your other senator” – that would be Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, whose 2018 primary challenger Trump recently talked up on Twitter.

Toward the end of his speech, Trump briefly spoke about tax reform and energy – two talking points that are broadly popular with Republicans. He mentioned a new coal mine that would produce “clean coal … meaning they’re taking out coal and they’re going to clean it.”

The phrase “clean coal” actually refers not to whether the coal is clean but to technologies such as carbon capture that help reduce harmful emissions when it is burned. (Last month, columnist Michael Hiltzik took a look at a “clean coal” plant in Mississippi that shut down over cost concerns.)

Naturally, some people drew comparisons between Trump’s speech and Monday’s big news event: the eclipse.

Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times

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