Donald Trump doubled-down on calling Covid-19 "kung-flu" at a packed rally in Arizona.
The US president's second rally in less than a week drew energetic crowds as he spoke to young conservative students at a Phoenix megachurch on Tuesday.
Trump hailed the “patriotic young Americans who stand up tall for America and refuse to kneel to the radical left.”
“You are the courageous warriors standing in the way of what they want to do and their goals,” he told the boisterous crowd.
“They hate our history. They hate our values, and they hate everything we prize as Americans.”
His address to the crowds was full of typical Trump lines, including boasts about TV ratings, ridiculing his presidential rival Joe Biden and attacking China's handling of the coronavirus crisis.
As he did in Oklahoma over the weekend, Trump referred to the virus as “kung flu,” a pejorative term that Asian-Americans say is racist.
The weekend rally appeared to focus Trump's mind on his reelection campaign during his visit to the battleground state of Arizona, with Trump telling supports "it will be the "most corrupt election in the history of our country" and that "we can not let this happen".
Ahead of the rally, Dr Anthony Fauci, the federal government's top infectious disease expert, warned that the US was at a "critical" crossroads in containing coronavirus.
He said: “Right now, the next couple of weeks are going to be critical in our ability to address those surgings that we are seeing in Florida, in Texas, in Arizona and other states.
“They are not the only ones that are having a difficulty. Bottom line ... it’s a mixed bag.”
Since late May, Arizona has emerged as one of the nation’s most active hot spots for the spread of Covid-19.
The Democratic mayor of Phoenix said she did not believe Trump's speech could be safely held in the city and urged the president to wear a mask, although he refused.
Arizona is seeing disturbing trends in several benchmarks, including the percentage of tests that prove positive for the virus, which is the highest in the nation.
The state reported a new daily record of nearly 3,600 additional coronavirus cases Tuesday as Arizona continued to set records for the number of people hospitalized, in intensive care and on ventilators for Covid-19.
Arizona’s total caseload in the pandemic stands at at least 58,179, with 42 more deaths reported Tuesday, raising the death toll to 1,384.
Before the Students for Trump event, Trump visited the US-Mexico border, where he tried to credit his new wall with stopping both illegal immigration and the coronavirus.
In the blazing summer heat, Trump briefly stopped to inspect a new section of the concrete and rebar structure. The president and other officials took a moment to scrawl their signatures on the wall.
Arizona health officials have said in recent weeks that an influx of virus patients from Mexico have added to the load on hospitals in the southern part of the state.
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