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Grijalva will lead demonstration countering Trump rally in Phoenix

In a video message released on Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva called President Donald Trump "unhinged," and said that he would hold a counter-demonstration against the President at the Phoenix Convention Center next Tuesday.

While Trump hosts a political rally inside, Grijalva plans to defend the "core values of this democracy" against the Republican leader by holding the August 22 protest.

In the video, Grijalva gravely criticized the president for his comments on Monday about the violence in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend.

Trump has embraced white nationalists, Nazis, and white separatists, Grijalva said, adding that Trump's answers to the media's questions in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York were part of a "rather bizarre response."

It has become clear, Grijalva said, that"our leadership has no moral compass, and in order for this community and our country to be secure, I think we have to continue to understand that this president is indeed unhinged."

"And, his comments yesterday, emboldened—gave justification to—people who fundamentally go against the values of this nation," the Democratic congressman said.

"Dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres," Grijalva said, repeating the Mexican proverb in English, "Tell me who you walk with and I will tell you who you are."

Grijalva said that Trump was coming to Phoenix "believing that this is same political haven for him" and that Trump may pardon former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

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On Sunday, Trump told Fox News that he was "seriously considering" a pardon for Arpaio, who was convicted of criminal contempt of court by a federal judge on July 31.

Grijalva blasted the possibility, arguing that Arpaio's convicted was based on the facts, and that Arpaio had lead a campaign to "rid the state of immigrants."

Arpaio "practiced racial profiling" and a pardon for the besieged former lawman would become "another chapter of racial division," Grijalva said.

Grijalva said that earlier in the year, colleagues told Grijalva not to make race the central issue, but following the events in Charlottesville, "race is the issue right now."

"We have to be honest with ourselves, race is the issue right now, and Trump is making that the issue," Grijalva said. "If anybody is playing identity politics now, it's Donald Trump and that hardcore extreme, right groups that are supporting him."

Grijalva said that the counter-demonstration would be non-violent and based on the tenets of Martin Luther King Jr. and Cesar Chavez.

"We have to take this seriously," he said.

"This is not simply about winning an election, this is about winning our democracy," Grijalva said.

"This is about getting our moral compass back as a nation, and this is about the active, consistent, and persistent opposition and resistance to Donald Trump; and those in Congress who continue to enable him," he said.

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Paul Ingram/TucsonSentinel.com

U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva during a rally for Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders in March 2016.

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