UPDATE Aug. 22, 2017: Ahead of the President Donald Trump Phoenix rally Tuesday night, Mayor Greg Stanton doubled down on his message that the president is unwelcome in his city.
In a strongly worded op-ed published Monday in The Washington Post, Stanton argued Trump’s campaign rally was poorly timed and would cause further division on the heels of Trump’s widely-condemned response to a deadly white-supremacist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this month.
“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,” Stanton wrote. “That’s why I asked the president to delay his visit. It’s time to let cooler heads prevail and begin the healing process.”
Stanton’s words come after similar pleas last week to postpone the rally by the Phoenix mayor.
The White House has offered no indication that Trump intends to cancel or postpone the Phoenix rally, scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, and the pending appearance has already sparked protests in Arizona.
Originally posted Aug. 17, 2017: Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton has a message for President Donald Trump: Don’t come here.
Trump is heading to Arizona’s capital city for a rally next week, though he probably shouldn’t expect a warm welcome.
Amid the fallout from the deadly Charlottesville, Virginia protests, Trump announced he would hold the rally late Wednesday and Stanton, a Democrat, promptly asked him to postpone.
“I am disappointed that President Trump has chosen to hold a campaign rally as our nation is still healing from the tragic events in Charlottesville,” Stanton said in a statement released on Twitter. “If President Trump is coming to Phoenix to announce a pardon for Sheriff Joe Arpaio, then it will be clear that his true intent is to enflame emotions and further divide our nation.”
— Greg Stanton (@MayorStanton) August 16, 2017
Arpaio, 85, is Arizona’s most notorious law-enforcement official. Known for his hardline policing tactics and controversial “immigration sweeps” in Maricopa County, Arpaio earned the nickname “America’s toughest sheriff.” But for undocumented immigrants in his jails, his “toughness” often meant inhumane conditions including sweltering heat, requiring male inmates to wear pink underwear, and keeping inmates in an outdoor jail known as “Tent City.”
Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt last month when a U.S. district judge found Arpaio guilty of defying another judge’s 2011 order to refrain from racially profiling Latinos during patrols and turning them over to federal immigration authorities.
Arpaio, who lost his bid for re-election as Maricopa County sheriff last November after 24 years in office, could face up to six months in jail for the conviction, but President Donald Trump announced he is “seriously considering a pardon for Sheriff Arpaio” during a Sunday interview with Fox News.
Civil rights groups like the American Civil Liberties Union have already condemned a presidential pardon for the sheriff who openly defied a court order and discriminated against Latinos in Arizona.
“Make no mistake: This would be an official presidential endorsement of racism,” Cecillia Wang, an ACLU deputy legal director, said in a statement on Monday.