In the midst of mounting racial tension in America, the president is plowing ahead with a campaign tour around the country. President Donald Trump's rally at the Phoenix Convention Center Tuesday at 7 p.m. local time will be his first public event since his controversial comments on the protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, and not everyone is happy about his appearance.
Published in a Washington Post op-ed on Monday, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton urged Trump to delay his Arizona visit. Stanton argued that Trump's comments about Charlottesville — among them that "both sides" were violent and to blame for the protests — will only create more tension. Stanton wrote, "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.”
The state is also home to Sens. Jeff Flake and John McCain, who have been vocal about their opposition to Trump in recent months. Flake's recent book, Conscious of a Conservative, took aim at the Republican party and its inability to stand up to Trump. And Trump has voiced his anger over McCain's decision to vote down Obamacare repeal.
According to The New York Times, Trump will be met by protesters in Phoenix. The Times reported that several rallies, like a "Protest Trump Downtown Phoenix," "White Supremacy Will Not Be Pardoned," and "Never Again: Jews and Allies Against Hate" are planning to take place.
However, Trump does have supporters in the state who will likely welcome his presence. Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, known as the "America's Toughest Sheriff," supported Trump throughout his campaign and shares similar views on immigration. Arpaio was also known for his cruel projects like "tent city," in which he set up old military tents in the desert for inmates to live in while giving them pink underwear, sheets, and towels. He was convicted of criminal contempt in July after violating a court order to stop targeting illegal immigrants.
On Aug. 13, Trump told Fox News he was "seriously considering" pardoning Arpaio, who has not yet been sentenced for his conviction. Some have speculated that Trump will use the Phoenix rally as an opportunity to do so, but Arpaio said Monday that he won't be at the rally. Trump has yet to pardon anyone during his presidency.
According to the Times, Trump won 48 percent of the Arizona vote, four more percentage points that opponent Hillary Clinton. Trump held a rally in Phoenix in July 2015, not long after he announced his candidacy for president. During that rally at the convention center, he focused on immigration, which could be a large portion of his talking points Tuesday as well.