President Trump used his “Make America Great Again” rally to grab back control of the conversation following criticism from both opponents and supporters.
His response to deadly violence in Charlottesville was widely seen as too vague in its condemnation of neo-Nazis, while some supporters have been scathing about his announcement of more US troops for Afghanistan, a commitment he had promised to end.
The Arizona rally – unusual for a serving president – was his response.
Mr Trump accused journalists of misrepresenting his “perfect” words in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, where Heather Heyer was killed after a car ploughed into a crowd of people protesting against far-right demonstrators including neo-Nazis.
“For the most part,” Mr Trump said, “these are really, really dishonest people, and they’re bad people. And I really think they don’t like our country.”