The mayor of Phoenix asked President Trump on Wednesday to delay a campaign style rally scheduled for next Tuesday at the city’s convention center.
Trump tweeted out a link to tickets for the rally Wednesday afternoon. That evening Mayor Greg Stanton asked him to delay the visit in light of the political tensions surrounding his response to the riots in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday. Stanton said he was “disappointed” with Trump’s decision to hold the rally and said he hopes “sound judgement prevails and that he delays his visit.”
“I am disappointed President Donald Trump has chosen to hold a campaign rally as our nation is still healing from the tragic events in Charlottesville,” he said in the statement. “If President Trump is coming to Phoenix to announce a pardon for former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, then it will be clear that his true intent is to enflame emotions and further divide our nation. It is my hope that more sound judgement prevails and he delays his visit.”
Trump has received mounting backlash for his refusal to exclusively condemn the behavior of white nationalists in Charlottesville. At a Tuesday press conference he doubled down on his initial response, placing blame on “both sides.”
Trump just days earlier told Fox News he was “seriously considering a pardon” for former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, 85, who was convicted for criminal contempt after ignoring a judge’s order barring his aggressive immigration enforcement tactics.
Trump’s prospective visit to Arizona is also complicated by his combative relationship with the state’s two GOP Senators, Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake, both of whom have vocally criticized Trump on a number of issues.
McCain, who made an emotional plea for civility upon his return to Washington after brain surgery in July, defied Trump by voting no on Obamacare repeal and replace. Trump responded characteristically, publicly assailing McCain, most recently during Tuesday’s press conference in which he brought up McCain’s health care vote.
Trump has also devoted considerable energy to publicly castigating Flake, who wrote a book focused on resisting “Trumpism.” Trump announced Thursday his support for Flake’s GOP challenger Dr. Kelli Ward in a tweet in which he referred to Flake as ‘weak’ and ‘toxic.’
Trump has not publicly responded to the request as of press time.
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