Questions on immigration, race follow Trump to Arizona

Joe Arpaio

He also said he didn't want to cause a "commotion" by attending, and that he still supports the president.

The president's rally comes on the heels of violence at a white nationalist march in Charlottesville, Virginia, last week that highlighted the deep political and personal divides gripping the nation's psyche.

The White House, however, made it clear Tuesday that Trump would not issue a pardon at the rally in Phoenix, the Los Angeles Times reported. Trump was criticized for his response that "both sides" were responsible for the violence.

The former Maricopa County, Arizona, sheriff was found guilty in July of violating a court order to end his office's practice of targeting Latino drivers just because they might be in the country illegally.

Trump told Fox News in an interview that he was considering a pardon for Arpaio, 85, calling the retired sheriff "a great American patriot".

Immigrant rights activists have protested Trump's several Arizona visits, at one point blocking a major road that led to a rally he held in Fountain Hills, a Phoenix suburb.

Such a move would draw the ire of immigration advocates and leading Democrats.

Trump supporter Diane Treon of Kingman says she's been at the Convention Center since 4 a.m. and is thrilled at the chance to see the president.

Arpaio hasn't yet been sentenced, but faces up to six months in jail. More significant, though, I think is the event that he's having in Arizona on Tuesday night against the express wishes of the mayor of Phoenix. The fierce, non-conformist political spirit evident at Trump rallies here traces its roots to the frontier days and allows hard-fisted politicians like him and Arpaio to thrive.

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"You're putting people's safety at risk", he said.

Executives for Arizona Public Service urged employees at its downtown Phoenix headquarters to leave work hours before the rally to avoid traffic congestion and because of uncertainty over whether the rally will be peaceful. Majerle's, Cornish Pasty, Hanny's, Kettle Black, and Chico Malo all plan to stick to their regular hours on Tuesday, meaning that they'll be open during and after the rally. "Love for America requires love for all of its people", Trump said.

"I'm not scared or fearful".

"For a lot of people, I think, what this reveals is a sort of inability to navigate hard issues, an inability to be moral leader on important issues when it is called upon", said Hans Noel, a political scientist at Georgetown University, via Skype. One operative, voicing a common sentiment, told me that it would be nice if the state could simply put Arpaio, and his legacy of awful treatment toward undocumented immigrants, behind them.

Well, you see, that's the problem. "And that's the only thing that gets me a little leery because who knows which one will snap".

"There's a potential for going after Flake", Mackowiak said.

He also boasted about serving inmates the cheapest meals in the United States: prison slop sometimes unrecognizable as food, costing just 15 or 20 USA cents per meal to prepare.

An executive for Downtown Phoenix Inc. said the group feels reassured. "I am seriously thinking about it".

Bikers for Trump are expected to attend to provide security at the rally.