by James M. Wall
Updated 5:45 MST Tuesday, August 22:
Defying Mayor Greg Stanton’s request that he cancel his Tuesday night rally in Phoenix, the New York Times reported that the Trump rally and the protests would go forward.
Large protests are expected near the president’s rally in downtown Phoenix on Tuesday night, his first such event since he drew wide condemnation for his comments on the violence in Charlottesville, Va., this month.
The rally, scheduled for 7 p.m. local time at the Phoenix Convention Center, is Mr. Trump’s first visit as president to Arizona, where he made fiery remarks on a signature issue — immigration — during his election campaign last year. . . .
To hold, or not to hold, a Trump rally in Phoenix next Tuesday: that is the question Donald Trump should be asking himself right now.
The Mayor of Phoenix, Arizona, Greg Stanton, (left) has asked President Trump to postpone his campaign-style rally scheduled for the Phoenix Convention Center, on Tuesday, August 22, because “our nation is still healing from the tragic events at Charlottesville.”
Trump has said he wants to pardon former Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arpaio. If that is Trump’s intention for the Phoenix rally, the Mayor said, “then it will be clear that his true intent is to enflame tensions and further divide our nation.”
To hold or not to hold, is the Hamlet-like question Trump must ask himself.
On Wednesday, “A senior Trump campaign adviser told ABC News, “Barring any unforeseen events between now and then, there is no chance we will delay the rally.”
There is good reason to assume Trump chose Phoenix for next Tuesday’s rally for the sole purpose of enflaming his shrinking base with his pardon announcement.
Trump signaled that intent when he told Fox News in an interview this week that
. . . he may pardon former metro Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who recently was convicted in federal court for disobeying a judge’s order to stop his traffic patrols that targeted immigrants.
A federal judge ruled in 2013 that Arpaio’s officers had racially profiled Latinos.
Arpaio, 85, is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 5, and faces up to six months in jail. Attorneys who have followed the case doubt someone his age would be incarcerated, however.
Mayor Stanton, noting that the site of the rally was “a public facility and open for anyone to rent—and that includes the Trump campaign,” wants the rally canceled.
The Mayor added that if it is held, he is “focused on making sure the event was safe for everyone”.
The Trump campaign’s announcement that the rally will not be postponed, came a day after Trump drew near-universal outcry after saying “both sides” were to blame for a deadly weekend of protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, where white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups clashed with counter protesters.
In Hamlet’s soliloquy, he was contemplating his own suicide. It begins:
To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?
Trump has shown no signs that he is capable of even considering his own “to hold or not to hold” question, a decision which could lead, or not lead, to his ultimate political suicide.
His daily tweets, and his unscripted public statements, have demonstrated that he does not contemplate what he decides to do or say. He acts on impulse, not on understanding.
Gore Vidal’s script for the 1964 film, The Best Man, includes this exchange between two candidates for the presidential nomination, Joe Cantwell (Cliff Robertson). and William Russell (Henry Fonda).
Cantwell: I don’t understand you.
Russell: I know you don’t. Because you have no sense of responsibility toward anybody or anything. And that is a tragedy in a man, and it is a disaster in a president.
No sense of responsibility for others has been a Trump character flaw since he began his campaign with his Obama Birther Lie. It should have been clear that he had no sense of responsibility for others, nor was he remotely qualified for the position he sought.
Six months into his term, U.S. Senators from his own party have begun to come out from the shadows and say what they had to have known before Chalottesville.
The Boston Globe counted those early-rising Republican senators who were aroused from their Trump stupor by Charlottesville. As of Friday, the list was short:
Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, questioned the president’s “stability,” and Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, the only black Republican in the Senate, declared Trump’s ‘‘moral authority is compromised.’’
Another GOP Senator, Dan Sullivan of Alaska, tweeted, ‘‘Anything less than complete & unambiguous condemnation of white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK by the @POTUS is unacceptable. Period.’’
Corker, a sober voice on foreign policy and a frequent ally of the Trump administration, bluntly questioned the president’s ability to perform the duties of his office.
“The president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability, nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful,” Corker told reporters. He said Trump had not “appropriately spoken to the nation” about Charlottesville, Va.
Scott insisted that he would not “defend the indefensible” when it came to the president’s comments about “both sides” in Charlottesville being responsible for the violence last Saturday.
The decision Trump makes about Phoenix awaits. Trump could create another violent clash in Phoenix next Tuesday or he could escape a devastating political silver bullet.
Will Trump hold his rally or cancel it? Will other stupefied members of Congress wake up and see the light?
We will soon know.
The picture above of Mayor Stanton is a screen shot from the Rachel Maddow television program.