Without explicitly saying that presidential candidate Donald Trump isn't welcome in Phoenix, Mayor Greg Stanton essentially said just that when he issued the following statement about the country's most celebrated— or reviled — political figure.
“I hope that Donald Trump does not bring his hateful message of division and intolerance back to Phoenix," the mayor announced late Thursday evening as the news broke that Trump might hold a rally in Phoenix next week.
"He has a First Amendment right to spew vile rhetoric, but his brand of increasingly overt racism is in complete contrast to our values as a city," Stanton added.
The Arizona Republic was the first to report it has "learned" that the Trump campaign is searching for a venue in Phoenix large enough to accommodate 5,000 people, and if successful, will host an event on December 16 — the day after the next Republican presidential debate.
The Donald is still riding on — or, again, depending on whom you ask, reeling — from his statement earlier this week that he is calling for “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our representatives can figure out what the hell is going on."
Political pundits and politicians alike have condemned the statement — including Arizona U.S. Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake — An online petition blocking Trump from entering the U.K. now has close to 500,000 signatories, but still, public opinion polls show Trump's popularity rising. (According to Real Clear Politics, Trump has gained anywhere from 10 to 20 percentage points in the last week.)
At this point, it remains unclear whether Trump will pay a visit to Phoenix next week, but based on the reaction to Stanton's statement, most in the city are hoping he stays far, far away.
"Thank you Mayor Stanton for not succumbing to voices of divisiveness, racism, and bigotry! These are the times we all need smart, strong and informed leaders like you to lead," one woman wrote on the Mayor's Facebook Page.
"This is how fascism gets a hold in our country and we all need to stand up and say, 'NOT HERE!!!'" said another Facebook user.
But, to be fair, a handful of Phoenicians took to Twitter to tell the mayor they disagree and that they would, in fact, welcome Trump with open arms:
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.