President Donald Trump announces Valley campaign rally in October

Oct 13, 2018, 5:19 PM | Updated: Oct 18, 2018, 8:25 am
President Donald Trump stands before speaking at a rally at the Phoenix Convention Center, Tuesday,...

President Donald Trump stands before speaking at a rally at the Phoenix Convention Center, Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

PHOENIX — President Donald Trump is returning to the Valley, more than a year after police and protesters clashed following his last appearance in the Phoenix area.

The president will hold a campaign rally Friday at International Air Response at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in Mesa.

The rally starts at 6:30 p.m., with doors opening at 3:30 p.m. Free tickets are available online on a first-come, first-served basis.

It’s part of three-day western swing during which Trump also will visit Missoula, Montana, on Thursday and Elko, Nevada, on Saturday.

The president will campaign for U.S. Senate hopeful Martha McSally and other Republican candidates during the Arizona visit.

McSally is in a contentious battle with fellow U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat, to replace Republican Jeff Flake, who didn’t seek re-election.

The seat is a key to Democrats’ efforts to take control of the Senate, which would be a major blow to the Trump administration.

Trump previously has endorsed McSally as well as Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, who is facing Democrat David Garcia in the Nov. 6 midterm election.

Trump last appeared in the Phoenix area on Aug. 22, 2017.

After his rally at the Phoenix Convention Center that night, Phoenix Police used tear gas and pepper spray to disburse protesters. Police said they were responding to bottles and rocks being thrown at them.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona filed a class-action lawsuit last month against the city for the police department’s actions that night.

The lawsuit on behalf of four individuals and two community organizations alleged that protesters had their First Amendment rights violated by police.

In August, Trump’s camp reached out to the Arizona State Fairgrounds and Phoenix Convention Center about visiting in early September, but the venues couldn’t accommodate him.

He also reportedly was exploring a later September visit, but those plans never went through. Around the same time, he canceled two scheduled rallies because of Hurricane Florence’s impending threat to the East Coast.

As rumors of a potential Trump visit swirled, the ACLU filed a motion to get a temporary restraining order against Phoenix police.

Attorneys for the city of Phoenix filed a notice in response to that motion and requested that the ACLU withdraw its request for a restraining order because no Trump visit had been scheduled at the time.

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President Donald Trump announces Valley campaign rally in October