President Donald Trump will be returning to the rally podium in Arizona tonight for a campaign-like rally.
The fire marshal has set a capacity for the indoor crowd at 19,000, while thousands of supporters as well as protesters are converged outside the convention center.
Trump’s rally at the Phoenix Convention Center also comes shortly after he announced plans to send more troops to Afghanistan, following the advice of his generals.
An unnamed White House official was speculating about Trump making a major announcement at the rally. Pundits believed the denouncement would be that Trump would pardon former Sheriff Joe Arpaio who convicted of a misdemeanor charge for not obeying an order from a judge to stop his anti-immigrant traffic patrols.
Trump told me media last week that Arpaio doesn’t “deserve to be treated this way.” But during the White House announced early this week that the president would not be announcing a pardon at the rally.
“I can tell you that there will be no discussion of that today at any point, and no action will be taken on that front at any point today,” the White House secretary said.
The Democratic mayor of Phoenix, Greg Stanton, asked Trump to cancel the rally.
“I am disappointed that President Trump has chosen to hold a campaign rally as our nation is still healing from the tragic events in Charlottesville. It is my hope that more sound judgment prevails and that he delays his visit.” Stanton said.
The rally also comes on the eve of Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner arriving in Israel for the latest U.S. effort to revive long-stalled Middle East peace talks.
While Trump remains popular in Israel, his perceived praise for “very fine people” among the neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., outraged many Jews in Israel.