Long-time Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio may be up for a pardon from his recent contempt conviction, President Donald Trump told Fox News Monday.
“I am seriously considering a pardon for Sheriff Arpaio,” Trump told Fox News. “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.”
The political left immediately flew into hysterics over the idea that “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” who for more than two decades was a crusader for strict local immigration enforcement, might avoid the potential six months in jail he faces after his conviction without a jury last month for continuing these tough policies against a court order.
“Make no mistake: This would be an official presidential endorsement of racism,” Cecillia Wang, ACLU deputy legal director, said of the possibility.
On Tuesday, speculation grew as to whether President Trump would issue his first ever pardon. The National Center for Police Defense (NCPD), a group that organized the delivery of 40,000 police signatures to the Department of Justice, asking Attorney General Sessions to intervene in Arpaio’s then ongoing prosecution, issued a statement in support of the pardon.
“Sheriff Arpaio was recently denied jury trial, resulting in being found guilty of criminal contempt by a judge with an agenda,” NCPD President Jim Fotis said in a statement. “Arpaio was for performing his duty to the people of Arizona.”
Chris Day, a former attorney general of the Commonwealth of Virginia, who serves as NCPD’s treasurer added:
Sheriff Joe Arpaio, like everyone who goes on the stand, must be tried fairly, and in the same processes that every other constituent must face. He served as a servant of the law for over 50 years, so his practices were supported by a majority of constituents and their families, extending far beyond Maricopa County … Arpaio is ultimately deserving of a pardon, and we hope President Trump will do so.
As racially charged attacks continue to fly at the president and his advisers in the aftermath of the weekend’s events in Charlottesville, his decision as to the fate of immigration warrior and anathema of the racial identity-left Joe Arpaio, may be a major indication of those attacks’ effect.