Arizona says no racists allowed in their state. It’s really a part of Mexico, you see.
Democratic lawmakers, faith leaders and community activists are pushing state and local officials to join them in protesting President Donald Trump’s visit to Phoenix on Tuesday, as well as a possible pardon for Joe Arpaio.
The president told Fox News this week he was “seriously considering” pardoning the former Maricopa County sheriff, a political ally who faces jail time for refusing to follow a court order to halt immigration patrols unlawfully targeting Latinos.
“(Trump) should delay the visit here and respect the people who were affected in Charlottesville last week, especially the family that lost their daughter,” said state Sen. Catherine Miranda, referring to 32-year-old Heather Heyer, killed Saturday after a car crashed into demonstrators protesting a white-supremacy rally in the Virginia city.
“The message I’m getting is that he’s going to continue to condone racism and hatred by coming here and pardoning the most racist sheriff in the nation,” the Phoenix Democrat said.
The senators and other leaders will issue a formal call for support Friday morning at the Phoenix Mexican restaurant El Portal.
Trump already faces heavy criticism for calling left-wing groups just as violent as white supremacists in Charlottesville and for saying there were “bad people” on both sides.
To pardon Arpaio on top of those remarks “would be devastating for our community, because it would send a very strong message that … targeting people based on their race and treating them differently because of their ethnicity are acceptable behaviors,” Sen. Martín Quezada said.
“This should be the end of an ugly chapter in Arizona history,” the Maryvale Democrat said. “To have (Arpaio) finally be held accountable for the harm he caused all these years, and then to have the president to come in and alter that outcome — we can’t stand by and let that happen.”
Petra Falcon, executive director of immigrant-advocacy non-profit Promise Arizona, stressed that leaders will not ask people to protest in-person at Tuesday’s potentially “volatile” rally. But she believes elected officials should publicly support the “cry that this president is not welcome to continue to drive a message of hate.”