A Pardon for Joe Arpaio Could Come Within Days
Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio has friends in high places and that means the disgraced former lawman could get off scot-free. On Sunday, President Trump said he was "seriously considering a pardon” for Arpaio, who was found guilty of criminal contempt earlier this month for violating a 2011 court order to stop his legendary traffic patrols targeting suspected undocumented immigrants.
“He has done a lot in the fight against illegal immigration. He’s a great American patriot and I hate to see what has happened to him," Trump told Fox News. The decision, he added, could come within days.
The statement outraged civil rights advocates who have long accused the sheriff of racism, bigotry, and abuse. That it came one day after a racially motivated attack on counter-protesters at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia further compounded matters. The president has been widely criticized for his response to the violence -- first by not speaking out more forcefully on the day it occurred and then by doubling down on his contention that ‘both sides’ were to blame during a bizarre press conference Tuesday.
Arpaio, who served as sheriff of Maricopa from 1993 to 2016, has supported Trump since the early days of his candidacy. He spoke at the 2016 Republican Convention and was even floated as a possible candidate for Trump’s Secretary of Homeland Security at one time. He is facing up to six months in jail but, because of his age (Arpaio is 85), many legal experts doubt he would serve time behind bars anyway.