First Lady's Visit To Phoenix Draws Protesters

Published: Thursday, June 28, 2018 - 5:38pm
Audio icon Download mp3 (1.85 MB)
Matthew Casey/KJZZ
A protester holds a banner across the street from a Southwest Key facility in west Phoenix where First Lady Melania Trump visited Thursday.

First Lady Melania Trump flew to Tucson Thursday, and then traveled north to the Valley, where protesters were waiting outside a shelter for migrant children.

As a helicopter hovered over the Southwest Key facility in west Phoenix, police motorcycles led a caravan of mostly unmarked vehicles with lights flashing. The vehicles entered the gated compound from the east, which was down the block from where a small crowd had been waiting in the midday heat to air grievances with the First Lady.

“She looks like a coward,” Maria Cruz Ramirez, a member of the activist group Puente, said in Spanish. “She had to go in from the back.”

Trump reportedly met with staff, visited a handful of rooms and talked to children inside the compound that holds about 120 kids.

Outside the crowd waited.

“Melania Trump came here because she wants a public relations statement,” said Lupe Conchas, an activist and campaign manager for a candidate running for the Arizona House of Representatives. “She does not care about these children.”

It’s troubling that state lawmakers’ requests to tour the shelter have gone nowhere, but the First Lady got immediate access, Conchas said.