5 questions (and answers) ahead of Donald Trump's Phoenix visit (2024)

Former President Donald Trump will make his first town hall appearance in north Phoenix on Thursday, a week after a New York jury found him guilty of 34 felony counts in a hush-money trial.

Voters will be able to ask Trump questions on his policies and opinions in a conversation led by Turning Point USA co-founder and MAGA personality Charlie Kirk. Trump’s visit to the Arizona capital is one of two in the battleground region in the next week as he is set to appear at a rally in Las Vegas on Sunday.

Here are five things you need to know ahead of the former president’s visit to Arizona.

Who is Charlie Kirk?

Charlie Kirk is the co-founder of several Turning Point-themed organizations, especially Turning Point USA and Turning Point Action.

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The first is a nonprofit that advocates for conservative ideas and activities in schools and colleges. The other is a separate organization that is actively involved in helping elect select Republicans.

Apart from those organizations, Kirk is a prominent voice in the conservative media landscape with a popular podcast that bears his name, and he is a regular presence on television and at GOP political events.

His staunch, pro-Trump positions have helped vault his organizations to the fore of Trump-aligned efforts nationally and greatly expanded his reach with conservative audiences.

He’s a prominent election denier and helped counter pleas for social distancing and vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is Turning Point Action?

Turning Point Action is the political arm of a conservative, Phoenix-based organization headed by Kirk.

The organization was originally part of the outreach to engage younger Republicans in politics but has taken on different roles for GOP causes in recent years.

Perhaps its most important effort at the moment is a multistate Chase the Vote program that is intended to boost Republican turnout in the November elections by identifying those who probably lean right politically but haven’t voted.

The program zeroes in on what many Republicans see as a key failure in 2020 and 2022: GOP supporters who didn’t participate in the elections.

One way they hope to change that is by encouraging conservatives to vote by mail, a practice that Trump and other prominent Republicans discouraged in 2020 with baseless claims that such ballots wouldn’t count or would be subject to Democratic sabotage.

Trump underscored the importance of encouraging early voting in a social media post on Tuesday announcing “Swamp The Vote USA,” which promises “We will Secure Your Vote. JUST VOTE! They are all good options.”

Trips to state:Here's a list of all Donald Trump's visits to Arizona during his political career

How many times has Trump been to Dream City Church?

Thursday’s scheduled visit will be Trump’s second public event at Dream City Church.

In June 2020, as the world grappled with the pandemic, Trump held an indoor political event there that was his second public gathering since the beginning of quarantine months earlier.

It came days after a rally in Tulsa that was viewed as a superspreader event. Former presidential candidate and Trump supporter Herman Cain died from COVID-19 not long afterward.

At the time of the Dream City event, church officials incorrectly claimed they had installed an air purification system designed by church attendees that could kill “99.9%” of COVID-19 within 10 minutes.

In a statement to CBS News at the time, the church backed away from the claim, emphasizing that its system reflected its efforts to minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposure.

Trump was scheduled to appear at the Arizona Republican Party’s Freedom Fest at the church in January, but he canceled that appearance, which came as the party’s then-chairman resigned under pressure from Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kari Lake. Lake released a secretly recorded conversation in which Jeff DeWit said influential people wanted her to stay out of the race.

Who gets to ask Trump questions?

While Kirk is hosting the event, voters will be able to ask Trump questions live during the town hall. Tickets for the event are on a first-come, first-served basis.

Andrew Kolvet, a Turning Point spokesperson, said the town hall is an opportunity for Trump to make personal connections with Arizonan voters.

“I think he offers a vision of strength and moral clarity on a lot of the issues in which Joe Biden's responses, whether it be the border or inflation, it feels muddled or it feels like he's not really willing to get to the root causes,” Kolvet said.

Trump is up in the Arizona polls by almost 5 percentage points at 42.6% of the vote, according to a FiveThirtyEight poll updated Tuesday.

“We expect a great discussion looking at how President Trump's America First agenda will help Arizona families recover from Biden's weak and failed term in the White House,” Republican National Committee spokesperson Rachel Lee said.

What is Turning Point’s Chase the Vote campaign?

The event, part of Turning Point’s Chase the Vote program, is part of the organization’s larger effort to hire and mobilize more than 1,000 employees, or ballot chasers, to secure votes for Trump’s presidential bid after President Joe Biden won the state in 2020. The program focuses on connecting with voters in Arizona, Wisconsin and Georgia.

“We believe that if you pair the fact that Trump is leading in the polls, you pair the fact that he's a superior candidate, you pair that with the result of his presidency versus the result of Joe Biden's presidency, and you pair that with the size and scope and scale that we're doing at Turning Point Action, it could deliver a determinative difference in 2024,” Kolvet said.

Turning Point PAC and Turning Point Action are hosting the event at Dream City Church, which is at 2 p.m. MST on Thursday. Doors open at 10 a.m. MST.

5 questions (and answers) ahead of Donald Trump's Phoenix visit (2024)
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