President Donald Trump on Tuesday will hold a campaign-style rally joined by thousands of supporters in Phoenix, Ariz., where protesters will also take to the streets.
Trump’s rally comes a day after he delivered a prime-time address on his administration’s war strategy in Afghanistan and after a tumultuous week following his response to violent protests in Charlottesville, Va., attended by neo-Nazis and members of the Ku Klux Klan.
In anticipation of Trump’s appearance, which tens of thousands of supporters and protesters could attend, city officials and law enforcement agencies have pushed to shut down some roads and to close many businesses, offices, schools and state courts early.
Before his rally, Trump will visit the U.S. Marine Corps’ Marine Air Station Yuma base along the U.S.-Mexico border. The president is scheduled to take the stage at the Phoenix Convention Center at 7 p.m.
There are several issues Trump could discuss in his rally. Trump is considering a pardon for former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whose tough stance on illegal immigration while sheriff made him famous and popular among Republicans. Arpaio was convicted in July on federal criminal contempt charges for his treatment of immigrants.
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton has urged Trump to delay the rally, saying the country is too divided following the Charlottesville rally earlier this month. As demonstrators dispersed in Charlottesville, police said, rally attendee James A. Fields, Jr., drove a car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one person and injuring more than a dozen others.
Many public officials and business leaders throughout the country criticized Trump’s response to the incident.
Stanton said Trump’s rally will do more harm than good.
“I believe the true intention is really inflame people’s passion to further divide the country and that’s why I said the president should delay this trip to Phoenix,” Stanton said. “That would just, you know, put gasoline on that potential flame, that would be a really bad thing — not just for Phoenix for the entire United States of America.”
At the scheduled rally, Trump could also endorse Kelli Ward, a challenger of incumbent Sen. Jeff Flake, who has criticized Trump, for the 2018 Arizona Republican primary.
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