CASA GRANDE — Supporters of President Donald Trump protesting the recent impeachment process in Congress vied vocally with counter-protestors outside U.S. Rep. Tom O’Halleran’s Casa Grande office Tuesday morning.
Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward and state Sen. Vince Leach, R-Saddlebrooke, tried to speak to the crowd of about 35 Trump supporters using a bullhorn but were frequently drowned out by the shouts of “traitor,” “dump Trump” and whistles from about 10 to 15 very vocal O’Halleran supporters. Trump supporters responded with chants of “USA,” “Trump 2020” and “Trump, Trump, Trump.”
Tom and Elaine Britte from Eloy said they are staunch Trump supporters and decided to join the crowd outside O’Halleran’s office at 211 N. Florence St. because they’re tired of the impeachment investigation.
An impeachment investigation was officially started at the end of September by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after reports surfaced that the president had asked the Ukrainian president to investigate the actions of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. Hunter Biden served on the board of a major natural gas company in Ukraine from 2014 to 2019.
“I want to make sure that he (O’Halleran) knows that there are people in his district that don’t support the impeachment process,” Tom Britte said.
O’Halleran was not in the office at the time of the protest.
“I’m definitely for Trump 2020. I’m going to do all that I can to make sure that he gets elected,” Elaine Britte said. She said she likes Trump because, “He’s really for the American people. He’s not in anyone’s pocket.”
Pam Sanders, who recently moved to Eloy from New Mexico, said she also is a supporter of the president. Sanders said she had been a small business owner in the pharmacy industry for 43 years before retiring. She supported Trump’s attempts to bring down drug prices and end illegal immigration.
Ralph Atchue, the chair of the Democrats of Casa Grande, was one of the 10 to 15 counter-protesters who attempted to shout down the Trump supporters.
Atchue said he supported O’Halleran’s decision to back an impeachment investigation into the president.
“He (O’Halleran) has done a lot of work for the families and farmers of Pinal County,” Atchue said. “He’s a middle-of-the-road, moderate Democrat and to paint him otherwise is a disservice.”
Mike Hurley also attended the event in support of O’Halleran but is against the idea of impeachment.
“I think it’s a waste of time and money,” he said.
Ward told the crowd that Arizona Democrats like O’Halleran who were elected in 2016 and pledged to work with Republicans had reneged on their promise.
“The Democrats have gone crazy,” Ward said. “We will not stand for this madness. We will stand up for freedom. We will stand up for Trump and we will stand up for America.”
Leach accused Democrats in Congress of holding meetings behind closed doors and chasing rumors. He said Trump was making good on his promise to build a border wall.
“It’s time to get America back to work and stop this insanity,” Leach said.
After the protest started to break up, Ward said that Republicans have not gotten a fair shake during the impeachment process. She claimed that the two people who have come forward with information about Trump’s phone call to the Ukrainian president don’t fall under the protection of whistleblowers because their actions were partisan and designed to interfere with the 2020 election.
“The president has the right to face his accusers,” she said.
Ward said Congress should really be looking into what happened to “billions of dollars in loans that went to the Ukraine” and how Hunter Biden was able to land a job at a Ukrainian natural gas company when he didn’t have any experience.
Ward and Leach both said they didn’t think the president had done anything wrong in asking the Ukraine or China to investigate Biden. World leaders should be on the lookout for corruption and should help each other fight corruption, Ward said.
Leach pointed out that President Bill Clinton had asked United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair for a favor. In 2000, Clinton asked Blair to get involved in a dispute between British Airways and two other air carriers.
“I think they’re fishing in a dead sea,” Leach said of congressional members supporting the impeachment process. “There’s nothing there.”