Donald Trump has the perfect solution to a series of white supremacist rallies that have generated violence and pointed up his close association with the racist cause. He’s holding another rally in Phoenix where he can scream for a genuine physical wall to keep out immigrants, lead chants against political opponents, and attack anyone who dares protest against racist positions. Still unanswered: Will Trump use this occasion to toss a pardon to racist ex-sheriff Joe Arpaio.
In recent days, speculation has mounted that Trump will follow through on this suggestion at a campaign rally in Phoenix on Tuesday. Should he do so, it will be a unique moment in modern presidential politics. Trump will have given the first pardon of his presidency to someone for what appears to be purely political reasons and he will have done so without going through the normal review process.
I am disappointed that the President has decided to hold a campaign rally while our nation as our nation is still healing from the tragic events in Charlottesville. If the President is coming to Phoenix to announce a pardon for Sheriff Joe Arpaio, then it will be clear his true intent is to enflame emotions and further divide our nation.
It is my hope that more sound judgement prevails and that he delays his visit.
It’s an extremely unusual situation when an American city is begging the president not to pay a visit to his city. And even more unusual when those pleas are ignored.
Mayer Stanton was joined in his appeal by the local Representative.
“I absolutely think it’s inappropriate to be holding a political rally a few days after an innocent woman was mowed down by a neo-Nazi,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), whose district includes downtown Phoenix. “It’s throwing tinder onto an ongoing fire.”
On Monday evening, Donald Trump read a plodding speech, supposedly about his new strategy for Afghanistan, in which he gave no numbers, dates, or details that would differentiate this “new strategy” from what’s happened over the last 16 years. As part of that speech, Trump again read out a list of condemnations that was similar to that he went through on the Monday following Charlottesville—before he returned to his “both sides” theme.
It’s been just one week since Trump declared that there were so “very fine people” among the torch-waving crowd of white supremacists who marched to the statue of Robert E Lee, and complained that the protesters who stood up to Nazis “didn’t have a permit.” Trump repeatedly called out violence on both sides, failing even to note that it was a white supremacist who drove a car into a crowd, injuring 19 and killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer. Trump refused to call out the attack in Charlottesville as terrorism, but when a similar vehicular attack occurred in Spain, he was quick to award that label.
Previous Trump rallies in Arizona included bringing Joe Arpaio on stage to the cheers of Trump supporters as Trump bragged on the sheriff’s immigrant hating ways.
Arpaio, who was vocal Trump supporter during the campaign, was convicted last month of criminal contempt for ignoring a judge’s order to stop detaining people because he merely suspected them of being undocumented immigrants. In Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, Arpaio has been reviled for years by many in the jurisdiction’s burgeoning Latino community.
Arpaio has shown no remorse. In fact, he’s been defiant. He’s always felt free to take the law into his own hands, and doesn’t seem to believe it should be applied to him so long as he continues to dish out hate.
Phoenix is not only the site of some of Trump’s most disturbing rallies, it hosted a campaign speech in which he laid out a fascistic future for America.