Gov. Ducey to skip Trump rally in Phoenix, VP Pence to attend

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5 file photos) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 file photos)
President Trump took a jab at Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake on Twitter leading up to his August 22 Phoenix rally. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 file photos) President Trump took a jab at Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake on Twitter leading up to his August 22 Phoenix rally. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 file photos)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is the latest high-profile Republican to skip a planned rally for President Donald Trump Tuesday night in Phoenix. However, CNN confirmed late Monday Vice President Mike Pence will attend.

The governor's staff says Ducey will be too busy focusing on public safety to appear with the president at the Phoenix Convention Center.

"Governor Ducey's focus has been working with law enforcement toward a safe event in downtown Phoenix for all those involved and in the area. That will continue to be his priority during the event and afterward," his staff wrote in an email.

[WATCH RAW VIDEO: Phoenix city officials talk about preparations for President's visit, rally]

[READ MORE: Police preparing for demonstrators during Trump visit]

[RELATED: Downtown businesses consider closing during Trump visit]

[CONTROVERSIAL VISIT: Some protesters registering for Trump rally but don't plan to attend]

But the governor isn't completely snubbing the commander-in-chief.

According to his office, Ducey will meet the president at the airport to welcome Trump back to Arizona.

[RELATED: Anti-Trump graffiti pops up around Phoenix ahead of presidential visit]

[RELATED: Biker group offering protection for President Trump's visit]

[SLIDESHOW: Donald Trump in Arizona]

A senior Trump Administration official told CNN Pence will be at the rally on Tuesday and then he'll be in Miami.

Since Trump launched his campaign in the summer of 2015, Ducey has kept his distance from the New York real estate mogul.

Only after it appeared Trump had locked up the GOP nomination in 2016 did Ducey give a tepid endorsement.

[RELATED: Gov. Ducey tries to stay out of GOP political fray (March 11, 2016)]

[READ MORE: Gov. Doug Ducey meets with Trump in NYC (June 14, 2016)]

Trump arrives in the Valley after a week in which he was roundly criticized by Democrats and Republicans for going soft on the white nationalists' groups that led the demonstrations in  Charlottesville, VA that turned deadly.

There is also wide speculation that Trump might pardon former Maricopa Country Sheriff Joe Arpaio during his Phoenix stop.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio]

Another big-name Republican who is skipping out the Trump rally is Sen. Jeff Flake, who will be in Tucson.

This should not come as a surprise since the two have publicly sparred. 

[READ MORE: Trump Phoenix rally to highlight feisty feud with senator]

Flake recently published a book slamming Trump and his Republican supporters.

Trump has offered to spend $10 million of his own money to defeat Flake. And last week, the president tweeted what appeared to be an endorsement of Flake's opponent, former state Sen. Kelli Ward

[READ MORE: Leading up to Phoenix rally, President Trump takes jab at 'toxic' Sen. Flake]

[RELATED: 2 Trump backers join Flake opponent Kelli Ward's campaign]

[RELATED: In Arizona, it's Flake vs. Trump in a test of GOP's allegiances]

[MORE: Poll shows voters disapprove of Sen. Flake's job performance]


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Dennis WlechVeteran political reporter Dennis Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona.

Dennis Welch
Political Editor

Before making the move to television, Welch wrote and edited for the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California. Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona and his addition means 3TV will provide a stronger, more robust political presence in Arizona. He joins 3TV from the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California.

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