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Trump To Visit Arizona

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

President Trump travels to Arizona next week for a rally in Phoenix. The mayor of that city asked him to delay his trip, saying our nation is still healing from the tragic events in Charlottesville. Arizona is a state primed to receive a lot of national attention in the next few years. For more, we turn to Dan Nowicki. He's a political reporter with The Arizona Republic and Arizonacentral.com. Thanks for joining us.

DAN NOWICKI: Hey, thanks for inviting me.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: What is the purpose of the president's visit, do you think?

NOWICKI: Well, I think he's going to try to touch base with his base again. He's coming to Arizona, which is a state that - he feels that he has a connection with. He's mentioned this before. Even in the presidential race, he came to Arizona seven different times. Arizona, obviously, traditionally, a red state but Trump spent a lot of time and put a lot of emphasis on Arizona, much more than a typical Republican would.

And he has mentioned in the past that he really feels that Arizona helped him when he had a big rally at the same venue he's coming back to, the Phoenix Convention Center. In July of 2015, it was one of his early big rallies. And I think he thinks he's going to be talking to, you know, a friendly crowd in a friendly atmosphere, whether that turns out to be totally true is very questionable. A lot of people are nervous, on edge, given all the turmoil going on in the country.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Right. And is he expected to pardon former sheriff Joe Arpaio. Do we know yet?

NOWICKI: Well, nothing official. But I think almost everybody is anticipating that he would. You know, obviously, Joe Arpaio and Donald Trump kind of speak to the same sort of conservative, anti-illegal immigration, the no-amnesty type of voter. And so that would be kind of a big concession to that crowd who were maybe, you know, not, you know, as pumped up on Trump lately given that - with the exit of, you know, Steve Bannon and then maybe the back and forth over the Charlottesville statements et cetera.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We should mention that Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt for racially profiling Latinos during patrols. I'd like to ask you about something President Trump tweeted. He appeared to tweet what was an endorsement of a primary opponent of Arizona Senator Jeff Flake. Why is the president getting involved in the 2018 Arizona Senate race?

NOWICKI: Well, he's had a grudge against Flake for about a year. Jeff Flake was obviously one of the big Republican critics of Trump during the presidential campaign. He refused to endorse him. He never voted for him. Now, I mean, I guess some people say that is kind of a bet that backfired on Flake because now Flake is out of it - is in the re-election cycle and Trump is president. And I know that Flake's political folks kind of realize that Donald Trump was never going to forget that snub. And they could probably never really get him on his side. But I think they were hoping to avoid that kind of a head-on clash. But then Jeff Flake wrote a book published earlier in August and, basically, a critique of the Republican Party's embrace of Trump and Trumpism, which sort of put the issue front and center of - in front of the president. So now it's almost unavoidable that Trump's going to have to intervene in some way. Still not sure exactly how much energy and emphasis he's going to put in - into the Arizona race though.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Dan Nowicki is a political reporter in Arizona. Thanks so much.

NOWICKI: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.