On Tuesday, President Donald Trump held his first rally since his polarizing comments about the violent protests in Charlottesville, VA. Trump traveled to Phoenix, where he first gave a rally in 2015 at the very beginning of his presidential campaign. This time, though, he returned to opposition. Before the event, Americans who don't agree with the president's actions organized protests. You may be wondering how many people protested at Trump's Phoenix rally. Though law enforcement officials haven't reported a specific number, it's clear that protesters showed up in the thousands.
However, at the beginning of his speech, Trump told the crowd, "And just so you know from the secret service, there aren't too many people outside protesting, OK?"
According to The New York Times, several protests against Trump's Phoenix rally were planned ahead of the event. On Facebook, a "Protest Trump Downtown Phoenix" rally took place and the Puente Human Rights Movement, which according to the Phoenix New Times fights for undocumented immigrants, organized a "White Supremacy Will Not Be Pardoned" rally to take a stand against the president and his words and actions in office. Around 3,000 indicated on Facebook that they would attend the "White Supremacy Will Not Be Pardoned" event and another event at the Herberger Theater was expected to welcome 4,000 people. Whether or not that many people showed up is unknown.
At the state capitol, Tempe city councilman David Schapira and Senator Robert Meza organized, "Never Again: Jews and Allies Against Hate" to "make clear that we will not accept the false equivalency between neo-Nazis and peaceful protestors who oppose hate," according to the event's Facebook page.
And according to the Phoenix New Times, the First Congressional United Church of Christ in Phoenix held a "Unity March Against Hate and Bigotry" vigil and march to the convention center and state capitol. An antifa group was also expected to be at the convention center protesting, according to the Phoenix New Times.
Just a few weeks ago, Trump's response to violent white supremacist protests in Charlottesville, VA over the removal of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's statue sparked outrage among Americans. In his initial statement, Trump avoided condemning acts of the KKK, Nazis, and white supremacist groups in Charlottesville, but rather pointed to "many sides" for the cause of the violence.
On Aug. 12, a woman was killed when a man drove his car through a crowd of counter protesters in the area. It wasn't until two days later that the president condemned racism, evil, and the KKK. Then, the next day during a press conference on an executive order on infrastructure, Trump once again blamed "both sides" for the conflict, and denounced the "alt-left" for violence.
However, residents aren't the only ones who pushed back against Trump's appearance in Phoenix. Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton asked Trump to postpone his Phoenix rally in an op-ed for The Washington Post on Monday, in order to calm some of the tension surrounding the events in Charlottesville.
Trump supporters also showed up ahead of the event to show their commitment to the president.