Phoenix mayor: Trump 'may be looking to light a match' with rally
© Getty Images

The mayor of Phoenix on Monday accused President Trump of stoking racial tensions in the U.S. and asked that he not attend a planned rally in the city, worrying that it would only ignite the situation.

“America is hurting. And it is hurting largely because Trump has doused racial tensions with gasoline,” Mayor Greg Stanton (D) wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post. “With his planned visit to Phoenix on Tuesday, I fear the president may be looking to light a match.”

Stanton went on to slam the prospect of a presidential pardon for Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, which the White House said Tuesday it would not announce at the evening’s rally. 

“Let’s be clear: A pardon of Arpaio can be viewed only as a presidential endorsement of the lawlessness and discrimination that terrorized Phoenix’s Latino community,” Stanton wrote.

ADVERTISEMENT
The White House did not rule out a future pardon for Arpaio, who last month was convicted of criminal contempt of court over a 2011 order that he halt racial profiling as part of an immigration crackdown. 

Trump’s campaign-style rally Tuesday night is the first of its kind since the violence in Charlottesville, Va., earlier this month that left one counterprotester dead and numerous others injured.

Stanton in his op-ed said the city is working to make sure Trump, rally attendees and protesters are safe during Tuesday's event.