President Trump has pardoned conservative hero and former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The self-styled “toughest sheriff in America” who was convicted after he ignored a court order to stop profiling Latinos in his crackdown on illegal immigration. Trump is receiving serious backlash for his decision to grant this pardon.
As of Wednesday, 85-year-old Arpaio faced up to six months in jail. He was to be sentenced on October 5th. By Friday evening he had been pardoned.
Arizona’s large Hispanic community has responded with outrage, claiming Arpaio is yet another example of the white supremacy that plagues our country.
Thousands gathered in Phoenix Tuesday to protest as Trump delivered a speech at the city’s convention center. Protestors waved signs that read “Arpaio & Trump: A match made by racism” and “No pardon for criminal sheriff Joe Arpaio.”
Arpaio did not attend the event, choosing to watch the speech from his home in Fountain Hills. The former sheriff claims the media has failed to tell his full story and insists that he has been unfairly targeted due to politics.
Arpaio says he is “humbled and incredibly grateful” for the pardon. He slammed his conviction as “a political witch hunt by holdovers in the Obama justice department” and said he is “not concerned” about the people who are going to continue criticizing him “no matter what.”
Here’s the way I see it:
Arpaio has been a Trump supporter from the very beginning. He even introduced then-candidate Trump during his campaign events in Arizona.
Arpaio did break the law, but he did so adhering to principles that Trump shares. At the root of it, Arpaio’s pardon is more evidence of how Trump plans to uphold his campaign promises and embolden his voter base.
NBC journalist Stephen A. Nuno labels the Trump Administration’s approach to illegal immigration as “fanaticism” and points out how sometimes this can be a legitimate strategy. “Approaching disagreements over civil rights, reproductive rights, police reform, etc. from a fanatical position is a legitimate strategy, perhaps even the best one…Trump knows this.”
President Trump has drawn a red line against illegal immigration from the very beginning, and his pardon of Arpaio is consistent with his approach to politics.