President Trump hinted Tuesday evening during a rally in Phoenix that he will soon pardon former Maricopa Country Sheriff Joe Arpaio, just hours after the White House said Trump would not discuss the subject at the event.

"I'll make a prediction. I think he's going to be just fine," Trump said of Arpaio, who is awaiting sentencing after a judge held him in contempt.

Arpaio was accused of defying a judge's orders to stop detaining Hispanic citizens solely on the suspicion that they were undocumented.

After Trump told Fox News earlier this month that he has seriously considered pardoning Apraio, a longtime supporter of his, the timing of his trip to Arizona stoked speculation that the controversial pardon would come on Tuesday.

But the White House said earlier Tuesday that Trump would not grant the pardon during this rally in Phoenix, and Arpaio later confirmed that he would not attend the speech.

"I don't want to do it tonight because I don't want to cause controversy," Trump said during the rally. "But Sheriff Joe can feel good."