President Trump’s speech last night on a renewed strategy in Afghanistan — apart of actually detailing a renewed strategy — was also designed to change the subject to something other than racial tensions stoked by Charlottesville and the president’s fumbled response.
But a campaign rally in Phoenix Tuesday night threatens to pour hot water on a political grease fire that has yet to flame out.
Republican Gov. Doug Ducey has already announced he won’t be in attendance, and the question now is whether the convention center will be venue to more supporters inside than protestors outside.
What’s more, the prospect of an announcement of a presidential pardon for Sheriff Joe Arpaio has everyone on edge.
Whatever the outcome of the night’s event, it’s probably not going to be positive.
We’ll be watching closely should things go south.
Here’s more from The Hill…
Political leaders and law enforcement officials in Arizona are on high alert ahead of President Trump’s campaign rally Tuesday night in Phoenix.
The big question is whether there will be more supporters of Trump inside the Phoenix Convention Center, which holds 29,000, or protestors outside.
Trump’s response to the violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., has become the biggest controversy to date of his presidency.
The Phoenix rally, as a result, has become an opportunity for Trump’s opponents to show their force.
Some GOP leaders, such as Gov. Doug Ducey, are steering clear of the rally entirely.
Trump is moving ahead with the event despite a plea from Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, a Democrat, that he stay away.
Stanton said in a statement that he is “disappointed” that Trump would hold a campaign rally while the nation “is still healing from the tragic events in Charlottesville.”
Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said in a statement that her force will have “maximum staffing during the visit.”
The department is “working 24/7 with our partners to ensure all of our resources are in place,” Williams said.
Stanton said the city is committed to keeping everyone inside and outside the arena safe.
“The Phoenix police is always professional and the FBI and Department of Homeland Security have been great about coordinating with local law enforcement,” former Arizona GOP chairman Robert Graham told The Hill.
Charlottesville isn’t the only reason to think the Phoenix rally could be combustible.
The president has mused publicly about pardoning controversial former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, an early Trump supporter who was found guilty of racially profiling Latinos. Arpaio, who was prosecuted and convicted of racial profiling by former President Obama’s Justice Department, is a well-known and controversial figure in Phoenix.
Democrats are warning that a public pardon at a campaign rally would stoke racial tensions at a time when the nation is on edge.