Political divisions in Phoenix as police use tear gas to disperse Trump rally protesters

  • Watch Robert's report from Phoenix, Arizona

The president came to Phoenix to hold a high-profile campaign-style rally, even if the campaign ended nine months ago.

Despite the pleas of the city's mayor to stay away, Trump was undeterred and he once more excoriated the media - his favourite target - blaming the TV networks for reporting the chaos surrounding his administration.

This was Trump once more in provocative, combative, and divisive mood.

The measured president of Monday night announcing the Afghan strategy is a distant memory.

Protesters gathered outside the Trump rally Credit: AP

Outside the rally, several thousand protesters had gathered chanting anti-Trump and anti-fascist slogans.

It started peacefully.

But then the police decided to disperse the crowd with pepper spray, rubber bullets and tear gas.

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From my viewing position, just behind the front row of activists, it was a clear over-reaction from the police.

It left us gasping for breath as tear gas wafted across the central section of this city.

Police dispersed the crowd with pepper spray, rubber bullets and tear gas Credit: AP

Children were crying and struggling for breath; peaceful demonstrators were running for safety; and Trump supporters streamed out of the rally to face mocking jeers.

Fierce arguments broke out on street corners.

Phoenix became yet another American city hit by political turmoil Credit: AP

I also watched as a car of Trump supporters drove through the crowd, those inside the vehicle giving Nazi-style salutes.

It was that sort of night - yet another American city in political turmoil, and a depressing glimpse into the depth of the division gripping this country.