Phoenix Braces for Protests as Trump Visits for Rally

Throngs of protesters expected, and an Arpaio pardon is possible
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 22, 2017 10:44 AM CDT
All Eyes on Phoenix Ahead of Trump Rally
In this 2015 photo, then-candidate Donald Trump speaks before a crowd in Phoenix. The president is back in town for a rally Tuesday night.   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The city of Phoenix is on edge as President Trump plans to visit for a Tuesday evening rally. The Hill frames the matter thusly: Will there be more supporters inside the city's convention center—it holds 29,000—or opponents outside it? One question in the balance is whether Trump will publicly pardon ex-Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio for criminal contempt charges at the rally. Trump has publicly raised the possibility of a pardon, and any such decision surely won't sit well with protesters. Arpaio, for his part, tells KPNX that he doesn't plan to attend the rally, which begins at 7pm local time.

"My wife and I will watch it at home on Channel 12," says Arpaio. NBC News, meanwhile, reports that VP Mike Pence will accompany Trump to the rally. One factor that might not help the volatility factor of any protests: It's expected to hit 106 degrees Tuesday afternoon, and temperatures should remain north of 100 right up until the rally begins, reports the Arizona Republic. Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, a Democrat, had asked Trump to skip the rally, given the tense atmosphere in the wake of the unrest in Charlottesville, Va. The city's police chief promises "maximum staffing" to help keep things peaceful. (More Phoenix stories.)

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