President Donald Trump talks to a pilot in the cockpit of an F-35 aircraft during a Defense Capability Tour at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., Friday, Oct. 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

The Latest: Trump calls Senate hopeful McSally 'brilliant'

October 19, 2018 - 7:35 pm

PHOENIX (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump's three-day campaign trip out West (all times local):

5:35 p.m.

President Donald Trump says Arizona Senate hopeful Martha McSally, who is a former Air Force colonel and combat fighter pilot, is "brilliant and brave" and has a "very, very strange opponent."

McSally, a Republican, is running against Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (SIN'-uh-muh). Trump didn't say why he thought Sinema was "strange."

Trump spoke during a roundtable Friday at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona with defense industry executives and local business leaders. He's in Arizona to help stump for McSally.

The two congresswomen are vying for the seat of Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, who is retiring. McSally was a Trump critic in 2016 and represents a Tucson district that voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton.

She's now embraced the president and hopes his visit to Arizona helps unites Republicans against Sinema.

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4:55 p.m.

Hundreds of supporters of President Donald Trump have lined up outside an airplane hangar in a Phoenix suburb awaiting his arrival.

The typically chaotic protests that follow Trump when he visits Arizona haven't materialized Friday, as many of the activists who usually stage them said they are working on get-out-the-vote efforts instead. The midterm elections are 2½ weeks away.

Trump is due to tour the Luke Air Force Base northwest of Phoenix on Friday.

About a half dozen anti-Trump protesters are present.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a class-action lawsuit against the city of Phoenix over the police department's response to protesters outside a Trump rally last year. The lawsuit claims police used excessive force in trying to disburse the crowds, using smoke, pepper balls and tear gas.

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1:40 a.m.

President Donald Trump is suggesting without evidence that Democrats or their allies are supporting a "caravan" of Central American migrants who are traveling north aiming to enter the United States.

Addressing thousands of supporters at a campaign rally Thursday night in Montana, Trump said immigration is now one of the leading issues in the 2018 midterms, and he accused Democrats of supporting the migrants because they "figure everybody coming in is going to vote Democrat."

The comments mark the injection of one of Trump's signature 2016 campaign themes back into national conversation as he looks to boost Republican turnout to maintain their congressional majorities in 2018.

Trump was in Montana to boost GOP Senate candidate Matt Rosendale, who is running against Democratic Sen. Jon Tester.

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