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A day after outlining his administration’s policy in Afghanistan and South Asia, President Donald Trump is heading to Arizona to hold a campaign-style event in Phoenix. The latest Make America Great Again rally will begin at the Phoenix Convention Center at 7 p.m. local time (10 p.m. Eastern). You can watch a live stream of the event below.
During his speech on Monday, Trump explained that the U.S. will be remaining in Afghanistan, escalating the longest war in American history. Although he did not announce specific numbers, sources told Fox News that Trump agreed to send 4,000 more troops to join the 8,400 still there.
The Phoenix rally will also be Trump’s first since his controversial response to the August 12 violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, where one person was killed protesting the “Unite The Right” rally organized by the alt-right and white supremacists. Trump was criticized for suggesting that there were some “very fine people” among the neo-Nazis as he back-tracked his August 14 speech where he denounced neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
“Loyalty to our nation demands loyalty to one another. Love for America requires love for all of its people. When we open our hearts to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice, no place for bigotry, and no tolerance for hate,” Trump said Monday, referencing the divide Charlottesville sparked. “The young men and women we send to fight our wars abroad deserve to return to a country that is not at war with itself at home. We cannot remain a force for peace in the world if we are not at peace with each other.”
Before Trump’s speech at the Phoenix Convention Center, Trump was in Yuma to visit the Marine Air Station, which is about 10 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border. As AZCentral notes, Trump visited the state seven times during the campaign, but this is his first visit as President. It’s also the first time he’s held one of these rallies in the Southwest.
The rally also comes at a time when Trump is considering pardoning controversial former sheriff Joe Arpaio, who will be sentenced in October for refusing to stop his anti-immigration patrols. The 85-year-old was convicted of a misdemeanor contempt of court charge. Arpaio told the Arizona Republic that he was not invited to the rally.
The Republic notes that the polling group OH Predictive Insights asked over 1,000 Arizonans if they thought Arpaio should be pardoned. Only 31 percent of those 55 or older polled thought Trump should pardon him and only 15 percent of those 54 or younger agreed.
Arizona has also been carefully watched by Washington since it became clear that Senator Jeff Flake will face a tough re-election bid in November 2018. Kelli Ward has already launched her campaign to challenge him in the Republican primary. State Treasurer Jeff DeWit and former State GOP Chairman Robert Graham have also been tipped as potential candidates.