WASHINGTON — Officials in the White House and in Arizona are bracing for a furious reception to President Trump’s campaign rally in Phoenix this week, amid the fallout from his comments faulting “both sides” for racially charged violence in Charlottesville, Va.
Of particular concern for some officials is the prospect that Mr. Trump may be planning to announce a pardon for Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., who became an avatar for hard-line policies with his roundups of undocumented immigrants. Some of Mr. Trump’s advisers worry that a pardon could deepen the racial wounds exposed in the last week and compound the president’s political problems.
A person close to Mr. Trump said the president had discussed a pardon for Mr. Arpaio, who was found guilty of criminal contempt of court when he defied a judge’s order in a case involving racial profiling. Mr. Arpaio was accused of disregarding a 2011 order from a federal district judge prohibiting deputies from detaining people simply because of immigration offenses.
Mr. Trump made his thoughts public when he told a Fox News reporter on Aug. 13 that he was “seriously considering” a pardon, which would be his first.
Reached by phone at home on Sunday, Mr. Arpaio said that he was not sure why Mr. Trump was thinking of the pardon, and that he had not talked to the president since around Thanksgiving, when Mr. Trump called to ask about the health of Mr. Arpaio’s wife. But Mr. Arpaio would not say whether he had talked to the Trump campaign or White House about the visit Tuesday, or whether he had made formal plans with them to make an appearance.