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The Great Smoky Mountain Journal

Staff Reports

Posted: Sunday, January 21, 2018 11:23 AM

Weather Local Our View State National World Faith

Phoenix Arizona's Democratic Mayor Urges President To Delay Campaign Rally In City, Warns Against Arpaio Pardon

The mayor of Phoenix, Arizona, issued a statement Wednesday night urging President Trump to delay his campaign rally in the city while "our nation is still healing" from the violence that took place in Charlottesville, Va.

“It is my hope that more sound judgement prevails and that he delays his visit," Mayor Greg Stanton (D) said in a statement, also saying he is "disappointed" with the president.

Stanton also warned Trump against any plans to pardon former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of criminal contempt last month for disobeying a judge's order to stop detaining people over suspicion of being undocumented. Arpaio was a controversial sheriff because of his hardline immigration stances.

"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 tensions and further divide our nation," Stanton said in the statement.

Trump told Fox News earlier this week that he was seriously considering pardoning Arpaio, who he called a "patriot."

“Is there anyone in local law enforcement who has done more to crack down on illegal immigration than Sheriff Joe?” Trump told Fox News. “He has protected people from crimes and saved lives. He doesn’t deserve to be treated this way.”

Stanton also said that while he disagreed with Trump's visit, he wouldn't attempt to prevent Trump from renting his rally venue, the Phoenix Convention Center.

"With regard to use of the Phoenix Convention Center for the rally: This is a public facility and open to anyone to rent, including the Trump campaign," he said.

"Our Constitution protects the right to free speech, even for those we disagree with or those who don't represent the values we hold dear as a community," he concluded.