On this weekend’s broadcast of “Fox News Sunday,” former deputy chief of staff for President George W. Bush Karl Rove said President Donald Trump’s pardon of former Maricopa County, AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio was “a bad mistake” and that it sent “a bad signal for the country.”
Partial transcript as follows:
WALLACE: President Trump in Phoenix was clearly hinting he was going to pardon Sheriff Joe Arpaio. In fact, as a line from “The Godfather,” today I settle all family business.
And while the country was watching Hurricane Harvey Friday night, the president fired Sebastian Gorka, set out guidelines for banning transgenders in the military and pardoned Sheriff Joe.
Which means it’s time now for our Sunday group. GOP strategist Karl Rove, columnist for “The Hill,” Juan Williams, Catherine Lucey, who covers the White House for the Associated Press, and Josh Holmes, Mitch McConnell’s former chief of staff and the GOP strategist.
Well, Sheriff Arpaio was convicted last month of criminal contempt for defying a court order to stop detaining Latinos on suspicions that they might be illegal. His opponents called it racial profiling.
We asked you for questions about the president’s pardon, and Maria Swanson tweeted this. If the law doesn’t apply to Arpaio, should it apply to anyone else?
Karl, how do you answer Maria? What do you think of the pardoning as a legal proposition and also the politics of it?
KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, well, look, the president is entitled under the Constitution to have an unlimited power of pardon. I think he ill exercised it in this instance. Sheriff Arpaio was found guilty of violating a federal court order for over a year that said to stop racially profiling people for driving Latino or walking Latino, and he openly defied it and said he was going to continue the current policy that the federal court had told him to stop.
And this did not go through the normal routine that pardon applications go through, the Department of Justice. It was drafted inside the White House. It didn’t go through the regular process, review by outside lawyers, I think the president is making a political statement. An ally of his was about ready to go to jail for six months or so, and he stepped in. He had the right to do it. I think it was a bad mistake and a bad signal for the country.
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