WASHINGTON -- The size of the crowds who want to hear Donald Trump speak has pushed organizers to find larger venues for two upcoming events in Arizona and Arkansas featuring the 2016 Republican presidential candidate.
In Arizona, a planned rally with Trump and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio this Saturday has been moved from the Arizona Biltmore Hotel & Spa to the much larger Phoenix Convention Center. So far, around 3,500 people have RSVP'd for the event, where Trump is expected to discuss immigration and other topics.
Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks said in a statement that "due to the overwhelming response ... the venue has been changed to accommodate the thousands of people expected to attend."
In Arkansas, the state GOP announced Thursday that the party's annual Reagan-Rockefeller Dinner in Hot Springs, which this year features Trump as the keynote speaker, would also be moving to a larger venue to accommodate demand. Tickets to Trump's speech, which do not include the dinner or a meet-and-greet reception, are $75.
Trump has been a lightning rod for criticism across the political spectrum ever since he chose to characterize undocumented immigrants as "killers" and "rapists" while announcing his White House run. The backlash has also led to the cancellation of a number of the real estate mogul's corporate partnerships with big-name brands such as Macy's, NBC and Univision.
But Trump's fiery rhetoric, magnified by his celebrity status, has also galvanized support for his candidacy among some wings of the GOP, as evidenced by the outsized demand for those upcoming events.