President Donald Trump is visiting Phoenix, AZ Tuesday evening for a campaign style rally, despite calls from the mayor and other groups to delay his visit.
As promised, protesters have turned out in the streets of downtown Phoenix as hundreds of the president’s supporters wait to get into the Phoenix Convention Center for the rally. There have been early reports of “scuffles and shouting matches” between supporters and protesters, as officials hope to prevent a repeat of the deadly Charlottesville, VA rally, in which black people were beaten by white supremacists and a neo-Nazi plowed into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one and injuring around 20.
Intense protests and counter protests here in Phoenix before the Trump rally. pic.twitter.com/Olg5bSz3On
— Colton Lochhead (@ColtonLochhead) August 22, 2017
Thus far, supporters have been heard yelling “build that wall!” while police erected barricades, echoing the president’s racist call for a border wall with Mexico.
— Nick Ciletti (@NickCiletti) August 22, 2017
Mayor Greg Stanton had asked Trump to delay his first visit to the city as president so the nation could heal, but expected the president to escalate racial tensions by ignoring that request.
Despite Trump supporters having the most blood on their hands during these rallies — going all the way back to the campaign trail in 2016, when Trump urged violence against protesters — one attendee told AP News that she wishes the protesters “would be a little more peaceful instead of violently rioting.”
— Gary FrostGermanotta (@frostygary) August 22, 2017
Phoenix is a cosmopolitan, deep blue city with many immigrants, and the community was prepared to oppose the president’s arrival, even paying for billboards linking Trump with his Nazi supporters.
— Nick Walden Poublon (@NWPinPDX) August 22, 2017
President Trump has developed a strategy when polls show that he’s losing ground and becoming more unpopular; he hosts a big campaign style rally in a largely Democratic, cosmopolitan city, where protests are guaranteed but supporters from the suburbs will clamor in and create tension.
According to the Washington Post, “these events allow Trump to highlight the deep division in the country — and force voters to pick a side.”
The biggest question still remains: with no campaigning to do until the 2020 elections, why is Trump holding campaign style events?
Why is the president holding a "campaign" rally in Phoenix tonight? There is no campaign.
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) August 22, 2017