President Donald Trump will travel to Arizona on Tuesday to hold a rally in Phoenix. The president will return to the Phoenix Convention Center, where he held one of his first rallies after announcing his presidential run in 2015. But one of Trump's biggest Arizona supporters, Joe Arpaio is expected to be missing from the crowd. According to several reports, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio will skip Trump's Phoenix rally.
As of Tuesday morning, Arpaio has reportedly yet to receive an invitation to the president's rally, and said during an interview Monday that he won't show up without an invitation. Arpaio served as the sheriff of Maricopa County, located in the southern part of the state. It includes the city of Phoenix, making Maricopa the most populous county in Arizona. It's also the fourth-largest county in the country.
Arpaio made a name for himself as "America's Toughest Sheriff," chiefly for his immigration enforcement practices and particularly for creating Tent City. In Tent City, Arpaio housed inmates in old military tents in the middle of the Arizona desert, where the temperature could reach above 100 degrees. He also forced them to wear pink underwear and use pink towels and sheets in order to shame them. According to CNN, he also reinstated chain gangs, as well as cut prison meals to twice per day and ban salt and pepper shakers to save money.
In 2013, the Justice Department sued Arpaio for indiscriminately targeting Latino citizens. The lawsuit was settled in 2015, CNN reported. In July, Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt for refusing to adhere to a 2011 state judge's order to halt traffic patrols that targeted suspected undocumented immigrants. Arpaio is scheduled to receive his sentencing, which could be up to six months, in October.
However, Trump could intercede before then. The president reportedly told Fox News that he is "seriously considering" pardoning Arpaio, who first publicly supported Trump after he pushed the racist birther conspiracy theory about President Obama. If Trump pardons Arpaio, it would allow the 85-year-old to avoid jail time for his misdemeanor. Trump has not yet made a formal announcement on that issue, but some are predicting that he will do so at his Phoenix rally. Arpaio may not have received an invitation to the event, but that doesn't mean that Trump will necessarily avoid talking about him.
Trump told Fox News of Arpaio: "Is there anyone in local law enforcement who has done more to crack down on illegal immigration than Sheriff Joe? He has protected people from crimes and saved lives. He doesn’t deserve to be treated this way."
Hours before the rally and it remains unclear whether Trump will pardon Arpaio — or if he'll bring up the former sheriff at his rally at all.