Former president returns to Phoenix a week after felony conviction

Former President Donald Trump is expected to return to Arizona on Thursday for the first time since late 2022 for a town hall-style event in north Phoenix.

The event at Dream City Church is Trump’s first political rally since a New York jury convicted him last week of 34 crimes in connection with hush money paid to a porn star in 2016 to hide their sexual relations.

The event is organized by Turning Point Action, the Phoenix-based organization founded by conservative Charlie Kirk who has long supported Trump.

This marks Trump’s return to Arizona, the state with the nation’s closest result in 2020.

Follow our live coverage from Republic journalists.

Why is Trump coming to Arizona now?

Trump’s return to Arizona after his conviction should be seen as one of the less surprising moves of his third presidential campaign.

Trump has long expressed an interest in the state, its political figures and the issues that often dominate its landscape.

Since 2015, when he first ran for president, he has visited Arizona at least 18 times.

The first visit came a month after he launched his presidential campaign and the raucous crowd showed enthusiasm for his rhetorical attacks on Mexico and immigration as a central issue.

In office, Trump issued his first presidential pardon to former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who had been convicted of a misdemeanor related to his department’s continued practice of racial profiling.

After the COVID pandemic led to a nationwide quarantine, Trump paid a visit to Dream City, his second public rally for the return to in-person campaigning in 2020.

After Trump’s narrow defeat in Arizona that year, he personally urged the speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives to participate in a plan to overturn the election results.

That effort evolved into the use of “fake voters” in Arizona to serve as the basis for noncertification of the election on the day a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol. Trump is named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a state-level indictment filed in the case in April.

Ronald J. Hansen

This article was originally published on Arizona Republic: Trump in Arizona: live coverage from Phoenix town hall

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