Trump Rally in Phoenix Puts a City on Edge – New York Times
PHOENIX — Hours before President Trump landed here on Tuesday for a campaign-style rally, thousands of supporters and opponents gathered around the Phoenix Convention Center, where he was scheduled to speak. They shouted at one another, chanted slogans, hoisted placards and complained about the 108-degree heat. Some expressed worries that the event would set off the kind of deadly violence that broke out in Charlottesville, Va., this month.
Waving an American flag as he marched past supporters of Mr. Trump, Hugo Torres pointed to a list emblazoned on his shirt under the heading “Bad Hombres”: former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Ku Klux Klan and the 45th president of the United States.
“It’s an insult to me as a freedom-loving American for Trump to come to this place to spew his hate,” said Mr. Torres, 41, a house painter who drove from Tucson to protest. “This is our house, our state, our country. But Trump and his people think it belongs just to them.”
Shortly after Mr. Torres said those words, a woman waiting to get inside the convention center, who wore a T-shirt that read “Trump 45: Suck it up buttercup,” shouted at him: “Hey, can I see your papers? Let me see your papers, dude!”
The scheduled appearance by Mr. Trump has touched nerves in a city that has been at the center of the debate over restricting immigration. The mayor, Greg Stanton, a Democrat, urged Mr. Trump to delay his trip in an op-ed in The Washington Post, writing that the president “may be looking to light a match.”
Still, many Trump supporters said they welcomed the visit as an opportunity to express their views. Tim Foley, an Army veteran who leads his own citizens’ border patrol in Arizona, showed his Glock handgun to a reporter, emphasizing that he and his comrades came to Phoenix to “keep the peace.”
“Ignorance is fueling the opposition to Trump,” Mr. Foley, 57, said in an interview outside the convention center alongside other members of his Arizona Border Recon, which he calls a nongovernmental organization. (Critics call it a militia.) “We’re the last line of defense. No one wants another Charlottesville.”
The violence at a rally of white supremacists in Virginia this month, which left a 32-year-old woman dead — and Mr. Trump’s widely criticized responses to those events — had many in the city bracing for clashes. Police officers barricaded downtown streets and patrolled the area. Restaurants shut down early and hotels restricted access to their lobbies to guests carrying key cards.
“We have a president without any sense of morality,” said Jimmy Muñoz, 72, an Army veteran who showed up with his family to protest. “Trump loves to rile people up and appeal to their worst instincts. We’re here to show we’re better than that.”
Others, however, expressed glee about the event.
“I can’t describe a Trump rally other than they’re the most fun things to go to,” said Paula Ropnik, 59, a consultant for a physical wellness company. Ms. Ropnik said she wanted to show her support for Mr. Trump and Mr. Arpaio.
“Trump’s base here in Arizona loves Sheriff Joe,” she said.
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