In Phoenix visit, Ivanka Trump touts economy under her father's leadership

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The day before Ivanka Trump arrived in Arizona to stump for her father — one of four Trump campaign events planned in the state this week — a Republican political consultant mused that the president seemed to be “going right at every demographic” that could help him in November. 

© Thomas Hawthorne/The Republic Ivanka Trump speaks on the phone with a man encouraging him to vote for President Donald Trump, at the Arizona Latinos for Trump headquarters in Phoenix on Sept. 16, 2020.

Sure enough, when Ivanka Trump took the stage at an economic roundtable in downtown Phoenix alongside the governor the next morning, there they all were.

The small-business owners and white-collar developers who praised deregulation and pandemic loans. 

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The transplants from California and New York who said they were driven out by higher taxes. 

And the immigrants, military spouses and working moms who said the president “understands what prosperity means” — all of whom Ivanka Trump spoke to after visiting Latinos for Trump volunteers. 

The message she was sent to deliver Wednesday was clear: If you’re doing well, it’s thanks to the Trump administration. If you’re not, only the Trump administration can fix it. 

“In January of 2020, the economy was setting records,” she told the downtown Phoenix roundtable participants and the 50-plus other Arizonans in the audience. “We have no doubt that it will soar to new heights once we put this pandemic behind us.”

Another term, another tax cut?

Trump’s visit to the south Phoenix headquarters of Latinos for Trump was a surprise for volunteers, who nonetheless put Ivanka Trump and Gov. Doug Ducey to work calling prospective supporters to see how they planned to vote.

One man whose number apparently was listed as a mistake was surprised to hear Ivanka Trump on the other end of the line.

She also spent time listening to how volunteers — some of whom said they were previously registered Democrats — had ended up supporting the president, from a Vietnamese immigrant who spoke about protecting the U.S. from communism to another volunteer who said she was there for religious reasons.

Trump called the youngest volunteer, an 11-year-old girl who said she already had canvassing experience, “awesome” and told her to “keep up the good work.” 

At the downtown Phoenix roundtable afterward, Trump spoke at length about what she viewed as the administration’s key economic accomplishments. She credited the president with low pre-pandemic unemployment rates, “smart regulation” and tax cuts.

“The president … delivered the largest tax cuts in 30 years within the first year of this administration,” she said to applause. “He’ll do it again, and he’ll do it quickly if given four more years.

Trump also worked to paint the president as a lifeline for small-business owners struggling during the pandemic.

Ivanka Trump, Doug Ducey speak at roundtable on working families, tax cuts
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In closing, though, she shifted away from economic topics to speak more broadly about “what’s at stake in this next election,” describing it as a fight “for the heart and soul of this country.”

“Do we want the ability for our children to go to a great school of their choice, to have safe communities, to respect our men and women in blue who are protecting those communities, to be proud of this country and all the potential that it stands for?” she said. “I know I want that for my kids.” 

The moment seemed tailor-made for the “suburban women voters” political analysts believe are in play this November. 

“She brings a softer side of the campaign,” GOP consultant Lisa James had said of Ivanka Trump on Tuesday, calling her a “strong female” businesswoman, wife and mom. 

Purpling state draws one visitor after another

Wednesday marked the first time Ivanka Trump had visited Arizona since her father’s 2016 election. But the president has made at least five trips to Arizona this year alone. 

On Monday, he hosted a Latinos for Trump panel, where he sought to convince Latino voters his administration could revive the economy in the wake of pandemic-related shutdowns, protect families and preserve religious liberties. He did not mention his administration’s stringent immigration policies, his efforts to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or his history of disparaging comments about migrants.

Vice President Mike Pence also is expected to make a campaign stop in Litchfield Park on Friday, to host an event focused on veterans issues at the Wigwam resort.

His wife, second lady Karen Pence, will visit Luke Air Force Base and participate in a roundtable discussion on licensing for military spouses on Thursday. 

The president appears fixated on success in Arizona, given its status as a crucial swing state. His Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, has yet to travel here in person, creating a vacuum the Trumps and their allies have sought to fill. 

Biden has consistently led Trump in polling nationally and in Arizona, however. An average of polling by FiveThirtyEight has Biden leading Trump by 7 percentage points nationally and by 5.1 points in Arizona. 

Democrats slam economic policies

Democrats historically have used Trump campaign visits to skewer the president on his policies. 

Wednesday was no different. 

The Arizona Democratic Party called the economic roundtable an endeavor to “spin this administration’s failed attempts at helping working families across Arizona.”

In a “fact check” issued Wednesday morning, the party said the Trump administration had disproportionately helped white, higher-income Arizonans, leaving everyone else to face higher unemployment rates and other consequences. 

“Arizona millionaires received an average tax cut of $200,200 in 2018, equal to 8.3%  of their income, while those making less than $45,000 received an average tax cut of just $170, equal to 0.7% percent of their income,” the fact check said, citing an analysis from the Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy.

Party spokesman Tyler Cherry also issued a statement saying families throughout the state were still hurting, “worrying how they’re going to put food on the table or pay their bills.”

“(Those families) deserve leaders who will fight for them, not their own self-interest,” he said. 

Reach the reporter at maria.polletta@arizonarepublic.com or 602-653-6807. Follow her on Twitter @mpolletta.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: In Phoenix visit, Ivanka Trump touts economy under her father’s leadership

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