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F-16 intercepts plane flying near Trump's stump through Arizona

By Jean Lotus
F-16 intercepts plane flying near Trump's stump through Arizona
President Donald Trump returned to Arizona for two campaign rallies on Wednesday. File  Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo | License Photo

Oct. 28 (UPI) -- As President Donald Trump stumped in Arizona on Wednesday, one rally was briefly interrupted by F-16 Air Force jets and a second one featured praise from a retired British politician.

Trump's first rally took place in Bullhead City, a small desert town southeast of Las Vegas on the Nevada border. About 25 minutes into the rally, around 2 p.m. North American Aerospace Defense Command said a private aircraft entered restricted airspace and did not respond to radio communication from Air Force F-16s scrambled to respond.

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As the planes fired warning flares, leaving a streak of white flares in the sky, Trump remarked he "loved the sound" of the booming jets noise and pointed out the jets in the sky.

"Oh, look at that. Look, look, look," Trump said "Look at that. They gave the president a little display!"

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NORAD said later in a statement that "the violating aircraft was non-responsive to initial intercept procedures, but established radio communications after NORAD aircraft deployed signal flares."

The aircraft was then "escorted out of the restricted area by the NORAD aircraft without further incident," the agency said.

Later, at a rally outside Phoenix, Trump was joined by politicians including Sens. Steve Lee, R-Utah, Rand Paul, R-Ken., and U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

RELATED Obama skewers Trump's handling of COVID-19 pandemic at Florida rally

Trump spoke abruptly to hometown Arizona Sen. Martha McSally, who is in a battle to retain her seat in a race against Democrat Mark Kelly, husband of former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords.

"Martha, just come up fast. Fast. Fast. Come on. Quick. You got one minute! One minute, Martha!" Trump said, then pointing to the crowd, added, "They don't want to hear this, Martha. Come on. Let's go. Quick, quick, quick. Come on. Let's go."

Then Trump introduced a surprise guest, British former Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, whom he described as "one of the most powerful men" in Europe. Farage is a former member of the European Parliament who is now a private citizen.

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Farage praised Trump as the only current leader in the free world who "has the guts to stand up for the nation-state, to fight for patriotism, to fight against globalism."

Farage characterized Trump's political career as a fight against the media and those who opposed him in Washington, D.C.

"That is what Donald Trump did, he beat the pollsters, beat the media and beat all the predictions and the worst thing is they have never forgiven him for it," Farage said.

"Four years of the Russia hoax, four years of false impeachment," Farage added. Most human beings under that barrage would have given up."

Trump was "the single most resilient and bravest person I have ever met in my life," Farage added.

Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence hosted rallies at airports in Mosinee, Wis., and Flint, Mich. on Wednesday.

In Wisconsin, Pence, head of the U.S. COVID-19 Task Force, called the deaths and hospitalizations from the disease "heartbreaking."

"Despite heartbreaking losses, I truly believe the American people should be proud of the sacrifices," Pence said. "As cases rise, we make sure we keep supplies for hospitals," Pence added.

Marathon County, where Mosinee is located, has 4,495 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday. The county's health department ranked the disease level "very high."

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At least five staffers in Pence's inner circle have tested positive for COVID-19, but the White House said Pence could continue to campaign as "essential personnel."

Pence praised manufacturing jobs, crediting the Trump administration for "bringing back" manufacturing across the country and in Wisconsin. However, Trump's biggest manufacturing promise in Wisconsin, the Foxconn monitor factory in Mount Pleasant has been a disappointment, with the state demanding tax breaks be rescinded after only 300 people out of a promised 13,000 so far have been hired.

In Flint, Mich., where thousands of African American residents were sickened by lead-tainted water, Pence dismissed the idea that systemic racism existed in the United States.

"Joe Biden explains it all by saying he thinks America is systemically racist," Pence said. "Joe Biden and [running mate] Kamala Harris regularly say that they believe police have an implicit bias against minorities."

Local politicians in Flint attacked Pence ahead of his visit.

Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, D-Flint said in a statement that Pence was "wasting his time here if he thinks that the people of Flint won't see straight through his snake oil salesman tactics,"

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"These guys side with racists and white supremacists and then have the nerve to come to Flint begging for votes," Ananich added. "How dare they try to act like they have a care in the world for our city after they've completely bungled the pandemic response, rolled back water protections, attempted to gut health care and thrown organized labor under the bus at every opportunity."

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