KINGMAN – U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, hoping for reelection to Arizona’s 4th Congressional District, and Joe Arpaio, candidate for U.S. Senate, were met with applause at a packed Dambar Steakhouse Tuesday during the Kingman Republican Women meeting.
Arpaio kicked off his speech to the Republican Women by reiterating his support for President Donald Trump, whom he has supported “from Day 1.” He defended the president’s decision to meet with controversial leaders such as Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
“Why’s he taking all the heat for negotiating for the good of our country, our defense and security?” Arpaio asked.
While he supports the president, he told those in attendance that he’s not a rubber stamp, meaning someone who never disagrees with a person in a more powerful office. He said that should he disagree with the president on a particular issue, he would do so with respect and would not “badmouth” President Trump as a way to garner attention from the media.
“America’s Toughest Sheriff” told the audience that he’s spent his whole life dedicated to stopping the drug problem, including 24 years as sheriff of the third largest office in the country (Maricopa County). He added that people often forget he also headed Arizona’s Federal Drug Enforcement, covering the state and the border.
“So I have about 30 years fighting for you, for you,” he adamantly told the crowd. “And I want to continue.”
Arpaio wants to fight for the people of Arizona in the U.S. Senate. However, he has no plans to become a career politician or to jump into the murky waters of the swamp with both feet.
“I want to do it for six years,” he said. “I’m not going to Washington and the next day start raising money.”
As a U.S. senator, Arpaio said he would be a voice for Republicans because he is a “real Republican.”
“I’m not a Libertarian, I’m not a RINO (Republican in Name Only) and I’m not an independent,” Arpaio said, adding that Democratic candidate Kyrsten Sinema is “acting like an independent.”
Congressman Paul Gosar of Prescott took the floor next, and also led with his support for President Donald Trump. He referenced the economy, and that the president is “tackling problems worldwide.”
“Think about what he’s doing,” Gosar said. “He’s tackling what we can do in a $700 billion deficit in trade. I believe in free trade, but it’s got to be fair trade.”
Gosar said before he left Washington, D.C. he was approached by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who urged him to talk to the president and tell him to get rid of the tariffs. Gosar said he would be happy to do so, if provided with another solution.
“Once again, there was no answer,” Gosar said. “So this president has an idea and he follows through with it.”
He also applauded President Trump for his executive order that put a freeze on hiring federal employees, which Gosar said “limited the scope of the federal government.”
“So what’s happening is we’re getting retirements, we’re getting people leaving the federal government, and there’s nobody to replace them,” he said. “That’s perfect, a smaller government. I don’t need a government telling me what I can do and what I can’t do.”
However, he does disagree with the president’s decision to sign the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill in March.
“But his heart was in the right place because our military needed the funding,” Gosar said.
Shifting to elections, Gosar said he doesn’t believe the Republican Party will retain its current House leadership, particularly speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI), past September.
“I actually think that we’re going to see some upheaval in the House in September,” Gosar said. “And here’s what it gets you; I can’t change the Senate, Joe (Arpaio) can. But what I can provide is a speaker that has a backbone and follows principles.”
Gosar supports Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) for speaker, and said he would “empower the people of the people’s house.”
“Jim’s going to be fair, he’s going to be open, he’s going to get the House back to where it belongs,” Gosar said.
Jordan is facing intense scrutiny from claims he was aware of alleged sexual abuse three decades ago at Ohio State University.
One of Gosar’s closing statements encouraged the audience to get out and vote, particularly millennials.
“I’m not asking you for something that’s not possible,” Gosar said. “When President Trump was elected, he was at 10 percent with millennials, 90 percent against. Today, he is 50/50 with millennials. Why? It’s that he says he’s going to do something, he does it, and he offers hope.”
Gosar is unopposed in the Aug. 28 Primary Election. Arpaio faces off with Martha McSally and Kelli Ward, seeking to advance to the General.