PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- For the first time since he was President, Donald Trump returned to Arizona for a 'Protect Our Election' rally this afternoon at the Arizona Federal Theater. More than five thousand people showed up in downtown Phoenix to see Trump and several other key Republican figures.

Thousands attend Phoenix rally featuring former President Donald Trump

"I love Trump," said one woman who showed up at 4:30 a.m.

And if the flags, t-shirts, or chants outside the theater didn't give it away, she wasn't the only one.

"I love Donald Trump," Glendale resident Ashley Chalupnik said. "Maybe I'm being silly, but I consider him family. I think he holds a lot of my values and my family's values. Christianity, supporting the Jews, just putting America first."

Several in attendance say that since Trump left office, they feel less comfortable. And they want that comfort back, both at the national level and here in Arizona. For them, Trump being re-elected in 2024 would go a long way towards making that happen.

"Even if I didn't believe about the election being stolen, I would still want Trump," one Trump supporter said. "I would want our country to get back on track."

As for whether the Maricopa County election audit provides additional comfort to those in attendance, that's up for debate.

"I think it's turning out to be a little BS," Sun City West resident Daniel Bentley said. "I hope it's not just a game they pulled on us so they could make a bunch of money."

"I'm all for it," Mesa's Sam Wilson added. "I've lived here my whole life, except going to college in Texas. And I've never seen more Republican energy."

An energy that most in attendance embraced. But not everyone.

"You can't talk to any of these people," Phoenix resident Bonnie Oakes said. "But just so people know where I stand because I'm only responsible for myself."

The event was put on by Phoenix-based Turning Point Action, which operated Students for Trump in the 2020 election.

 

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