The Democratic mayor of Phoenix, Arizona thinks President Donald Trump could be coming to town to announce a pardon of disgraced ex-sheriff Joe Arpaio.
“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 future divide our nation,” Greg Stanton wrote Wednesday.
JUST IN: Phoenix mayor calls for Pres. Trump to delay his plan to hold a rally in the city next week. pic.twitter.com/0ebgrQNl5v
— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) August 16, 2017
He wants Trump to delay the rally, scheduled for Tuesday.
Arpaio, convicted for snubbing a court order to stop traffic patrols targeting immigrants, said he’d accept a presidential pardon. And it seems to be more than just wishful thinking. Trump told Fox News on Sunday that he was “seriously considering” the move. It would make sense. Both POTUS and the self-styled “America’s Toughest Sheriff” are decidedly simpatico in their hardline approaches to immigration.
This comes at a decidedly time for the administration, however. Trump’s rally comes amid boiling controversy over his muted response to a white nationalist event in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend. A participant, 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr., was arrested for ramming his car into a crowd of anti-racist counter-protesters. 32-year-old Heather Heyer was killed, and at 19 others were injured, police say.
Trump initially blamed “many sides” for the violence, without mentioning white nationalism or the like until a statement on Monday. He walked this back in a press conference on Tuesday, however, saying “there’s blame on both sides,” and defended the rally-holders because they had permits.
[Screengrab via CNN]