The White House announced on Friday that President Donald Trump pardoned former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, causing instant backlash from activists and critics of the Trump administration.
Just as stunning is that he did it without any discussions with the Department of Justice, which isn’t protocol.
I am pleased to inform you that I have just granted a full Pardon to 85 year old American patriot Sheriff Joe Arpaio. He kept Arizona safe!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 26, 2017
In July, Arpaio had been convicted of criminal contempt for refusing to stop targeting immigrants in Arizona. That verdict was given by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton. With this pardon, Trump is, in essence, overruling a decision made by a federal judge.
Thank you @realdonaldtrump for seeing my conviction for what it is: a political witch hunt by holdovers in the Obama justice department!
— Joe Arpaio (@RealSheriffJoe) August 26, 2017
In a statement released, the White House stressed Arpaio’s long history of public service:
“Sheriff Joe Arpaio is now eighty-five years old, and after more than fifty years of admirable service to our Nation, he is a worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon.”
There were many people outraged by this decision. One person was Arizona Senator John McCain, who has been a frequent critic of Trump, and even was the deciding voice in killing his terrible health care plan. He put out a press release saying:
“No one is above the law and the individuals entrusted with the privilege of being sworn law officers should always seek to be beyond reproach in their commitment to fairly enforcing the laws they swore to uphold. Mr. Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt for continuing to illegally profile Latinos living in Arizona based on their perceived immigration status in violation of a judge’s orders. The President has the authority to make this pardon, but doing so at this time undermines his claim for the respect of rule of law as Mr. Arpaio has shown no remorse for his actions.”
Numerous details of Arpaio’s shady past started coming back to the light when the news was announced. Phoenix News Times created a thread showing the many examples of Arpaio atrocities:
We’ve been covering Joe Arpaio for more than 20 years. Here’s a couple of things you should know about him… 1/many
— PhoenixNewTimes (@phoenixnewtimes) August 26, 2017
Trump pardoning Arpaio isn’t surprising if you followed Trump’s presidential campaign. Arpaio supported Trump early one.