Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk received some unexpected high praise from Maricopa County’s highest-ranking law enforcement officer over the weekend.
Sheriff Paul Penzone, a Democrat, was addressing the issue of unruly demonstrators upset about the length of time Arizona is taking counting ballots from Tuesday’s elections during a press conference on Saturday when he brought up Kirk’s name.
“This is an odd one. I am going to give a shoutout to somebody, I guess, a young man named Charlie Kirk, who is part of an organization that I don’t have a lot of familiarity with it. But he sent out a message and said be law-abiding, and please don’t gather around the county facilities, and let folks do their job, or something to that extent,” the sheriff said.
“It seems his words resonated. He is viewed as a leader in some factions and some groups, and they responded to it. That’s helpful for law enforcement. We really care about this building, this vote, these people and this law enforcement community. Help us get our job done. And those types of things are helpful,” he added.
“In Arizona— don’t show up outside County buildings, don’t tweet or say stupid things. Don’t give them an excuse to stop counting votes. I am confident the grassroots have observers everywhere and they can’t delay much longer,” Kirk tweeted.
In Arizona— don’t show up outside County buildings, don’t tweet or say stupid things. Don’t give them an excuse to stop counting votes. I am confident the grassroots have observers everywhere and they can’t delay much longer.
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) November 12, 2022
Penzone reportedly spent much of the press conference being critical of the protesters and others who were encouraging them to be rowdy and disruptive.
“Folks can get emotional. There’s a lot at stake. They can sometimes actually act irresponsibly. There are a lot of folks who are very comfortable in saying things that are unkind, and often times volatile or disrespectful. But it’s important for people to be adults in the room when some are acting like children,” he said.
“And I don’t mean to cast disparaging words individually but we know there’s some people that get overzealous and do things that give us cause for concern. Otherwise, the sheriff wouldn’t be here talking to you,” he added.
Citing an example of “overzealous” behavior, Penzone then cited one unnamed elected official.
“And we saw yesterday, there were tweets going out from at least one elected official, summoning folks to come here today and to be heard. And it gave me some cause for concern for some pause. Because you may be well-intended. That doesn’t mean that everyone in your calling has the same intentions. It can empower them into a space where bad things can happen,” he said.
“So we were very concerned. We made sure that we once again dedicated additional resources because we want to see a safe environment, at the cost of other needs around the county for law enforcement, the cost of taxpayer dollars, deputies in addition to those we had stationed here, came to the facility and made everything safe. As for the crowd outside, they were peaceful. They had an objective,” he added.