More than 100 mayors got an invite to hear President Trump speak at the White House on Wednesday. Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton wasn't one of them.
Right now, Stanton and other mayors from across the country are in Washington, D.C., from January 24 to 26 for the annual winter meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Like his predecessor, Trump hosted a group of mayors at the White House. He addressed them yesterday in a free-associative speech — "I know so much about being a mayor," Trump said — in which he riffed on topics like infrastructure and sanctuary cities.
Stanton spokesperson Raquel Estupinan confirmed that Stanton wasn't at the Trump mayoral summit. "We were not aware of any meeting with the president before yesterday," she wrote in an email.
Though the mayor of the nation's fifth-largest city was excluded, a few other Arizona mayors got the nod. John Giles of Mesa, Jerry Weiers of Glendale, and Douglas Nicholls of Yuma were in attendance at the White House event.
The snub shouldn't come as much of a surprise when you consider recent history. Last summer, Stanton said that Trump wasn't welcome in Phoenix after his remarks on Charlottesville, and requested that the president delay his visit. Trump held his rally anyway on August 22 at the Phoenix Convention Center, where he threw some red meat to the racists in the crowd by floating a pardon for former sheriff Joe Arpaio — a move Stanton criticized in the lead-up to the rally.
"A pardon of Arpaio can be viewed only as a presidential endorsement of the lawlessness and discrimination that terrorized Phoenix’s Latino community," Stanton wrote in an op-ed.
Also worth noting is that the mayor has ambitions. Stanton is planning to run for Kyrsten Sinema's seat in Congressional District 9, where he'll no doubt have a higher perch from which to criticize Trump and, more importantly, block his legislative agenda.
A bunch of mayors, including New York's Bill de Blasio and Chicago's Rahm Emanuel, were invited to Trump's White House speech but made a point not to attend.
They cited the Trump administration's demand that sanctuary cities turn over records detailing how they cooperate with immigration officials, or risk getting hit with a subpoena or losing federal money.
De Blasio wrote on Twitter that he would boycott the speech because Trump's administration "decided to renew their racist assault on our immigrant communities. It doesn’t make us safer and it violates America’s core values."
Of course, Trump couldn't let the slight go unmentioned. "Sanctuary cities are the best friend of gangs and cartels, like MS-13. You know that," Trump said at the top of his address.
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The other Arizona mayors who attended evidently had no qualms about a visit to the Trump White House. On Twitter, John Giles of Mesa wrote, "As Mayor of America's 36th largest city, my message to the @POTUS is
simple: invest in projects that bring jobs & connectivity to local economies. Successes in #Mesa include light rail, @gatewayairport, Falcon Field Airport, Loop 202 & SR 24."
Nicholls of Yuma even snapped a selfie on the White House lawn.
Phoenix is not a sanctuary city, mostly because anti-immigrant state law SB 1070 dictates how police departments across the state must ask about immigration status in the course of their police work. But apparently this didn't matter to the White House when they compiled the list of mayors who'd have the honor of listening to Trump ramble about the dangers of MS-13.