Massive Protests Planned in Phoenix to Condemn Trump Agenda and Racist Rhetoric
Organizers want president to know "he is not welcome and that we will never pardon white supremacy!"
At least ten anti-Trump resistance groups are expected to greet President Donald Trump Tuesday when he arrives in Phoenix, Arizona for a rally with his supporters there.
A variety of groups concerned with Trump's response to this month's white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, his immigration policies, and the broader White House agenda will hold marches and demonstrations ahead of and outside of Trump's evening event at the Phoenix Convention Center.
Since his inauguration, Trump has held campaign-style rallies in several states he carried in 2016—uncommon for presidents in the first months of their terms. This will be his first rally since he shocked many across the country and around the world by insisting there were "very fine people" who attended the neo-Nazi rally on August 11 and 12 in Virginia where one counter-protester was killed by a suspected white supremacist.
Protesters are also planning to demonstrate against Trump's possible pardon of Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County who was convicted last month of contempt of court, when he refused to obey a judge's order to stop detaining suspected undocumented immigrants. Before being voted out of office last year Arpaio spent much of his tenure racially profiling Latinos and mistreating detainees according a Justice Department report.
The Puente Human Rights Movement will stage an event titled "White Supremacy Will Not Be Pardoned" on Tuesday evening. In a Facebook post, the group wrote, "We want to send a very clear message that we will not pardon white supremacy the way [Trump] has done so with #Charlottesville and now with Joe #Arpaio. Show up and tell him he is not welcome and that we will never pardon white supremacy!" More than two thousand people are expected at the event.
A coalition of Jewish rights organizations will also be gatheringat the State Capitol Building for a "Jews and Allies Against Hate" rally. "In the hours before the Trump rally in Phoenix, we will make clear that we will not accept the false equivalency between neo-Nazis and peaceful protesters who oppose hate," wrote the event organizers on Facebook. "We will not stand by as Nazism makes a resurgence in America."
Phoenix's Democratic mayor wrote an opinion piece in the Washington Post Monday asking Trump to postpone his trip to Arizona, saying, "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."
Trump's support in the state has dipped in recent weeks. After winning the state with 49 percent of the vote in November, a recent poll by local consulting group HighGround Public Affairs found him with a 41.8 approval rating.