President Donald Trump is planning to hold a campaign-style rally in Phoenix, AZ Tuesday, but he won’t be receiving the warmest welcome.
In addition to large protests planned in the wake of Trump’s comments on the violent neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, VA this month blaming “both sides” for the chaos, the president is facing opposition from Phoenix’s mayor, Greg Stanton.
Stanton, a Democrat, has asked Trump to delay his visit to the city. In an opinion piece in the Washington Post, Stanton wrote that Trump has only stoked racial tensions across the country and could be looking to do the same in Phoenix in order to please his base — notorious racists and neo-Nazis were pleased with Trump’s soft remarks on their actions in Charlottesville, which led to the death of counter-protester Heather Heyer.
Phoenix mayor: America is hurting. And it is hurting largely because Trump has doused racial tensions with gasoline. https://t.co/DE5PPO9CM3
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) August 22, 2017
“America is hurting. And it is hurting largely because Trump has doused racial tensions with gasoline. With his planned visit to Phoenix on Tuesday, I fear the president may be looking to light a match,” Stanton said. “That’s why I asked the president to delay his visit. It’s time to let cooler heads prevail and begin the healing process. I’m not optimistic the White House will heed that call.”
Stanton notes that Trump has considered pardoning disgraced former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and the Phoenix mayor doesn’t believe it’s merely a coincidence that Trump has chosen to make his first visit to Arizona as president soon after Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt of court after refusing to stop practices of racial profiling.
“A pardon of Arpaio can be viewed only as a presidential endorsement of the lawlessness and discrimination that terrorized Phoenix’s Latino community,” Stanton said. “Choosing to announce it in Phoenix — especially in the wake of Charlottesville — would add insult to very serious injury and would reveal that the president’s true intent is to further divide our nation.”
Stanton said that Arizona citizens, even in his deeply Republican county, had grown tired of the former sheriff’s racism, and a pardon from Trump wouldn’t change anything.
Stanton’s call to cancel the rally was echoed by local citizens and civic groups as well.
— AZIndivisible (@AZ_Indivisible) August 21, 2017