Trump was rumored to be considering the announcement of a pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio at the event — a doubling down on support for white supremacy and nativism, which Stanton (and everyone else with any sense and decency) is worried could result in violent clashes between Trump's white supremacist supporters and protesters at the event.
In a very curious move, Mike Pence will reportedly be joining Trump for the rally in Phoenix.
This is an unusual breach of safety protocol. Pres and veep generally don't appear together, with limited exceptions, e.g. state funerals. https://t.co/crE4xNcPC3— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) August 22, 2017
I'm not exactly sure what's going on, but here's what I've seen over the past week or so: Multiple news reports about Pence laying the groundwork for 2020 run, followed immediately by: Pence pulled back home early from abroad, followed immediately by: Pence getting super promotional on Twitter, which is a highly unusual tone for him, followed immediately by: Pence appearing at Phoenix rally with Trump, in contravention of long-established security protocols.
It seems incredibly unlikely to me that Pence came home from a trip abroad and is creating a massive national security risk just to show solidarity for Trump's Afghanistan war plan, which was vague garbage — hardly a radical military realignment that necessitates such elaborate maneuvers from Pence.
Something is up. And it's moving fast.
I have some ideas about what that might be, but they are nothing more than hunches. I'll be watching what happens in Phoenix closely to see if any of those hunches prove out and/or look more likely after tonight.