During an event in Arizona today, the Vice President of the United States praised a convicted criminal and notorious racist.
Mike Pence gave a shoutout to ex-Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was pardoned by President Trump after being convicted of criminal contempt of court over his history of excessive racial profiling and unlawful detentions.
Arpaio was also was one of the most vocal proponents of the birther movement, a group of conspiracy theorists who push the fraudulent claim that former president Barack Obama is not a U.S. citizen, but of African/Muslim origin.
Pence was in town to raise money for Arizona’s eventual Republican nominee to the U.S. Senate. As the Human Right Campaign points out, those vying for the nomination — Joe Arpaio, Rep. Martha McSally and Kelli Ward — “have long, disturbing records undermining LGBTQ equality, which include an opposition to marriage equality and a lack of support for the Equality Act.”
"I'm honored to have you here."
Vice President Mike Pence recognizes ex-sheriff Joe Arpaio during a tax policy event in Arizona, calling Arpaio a "tireless champion of strong borders and the rule of law." pic.twitter.com/tzmS3sKPnN
— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 1, 2018
Pence said at the tax event that he was “honored” by the former sheriff’s attendance, and called Arpaio a “great friend of this president and tireless champion of strong borders and the rule of law,” to cheers from the crowd.
According to HRC, Arpaio “built his career on attacking nearly every marginalized community, including using anti-LGBTQ schemes to humiliate inmates at his ‘Tent City’ prison.”
Following a long record of flouting the law, violating the civil rights of Maricopa County’s Latinx population, and carrying out a hate-filled agenda through extreme racial profiling, Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt, but was pardoned by Trump last August. He continues to campaign against the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides much needed relief for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children — including 75,000 LGBTQ Dreamers.
Pence’s choice to speaking favorably of a man with such a detestable record didn’t go unnoticed on social media.
Mike Pence is “honored” to have Joe Arpaio at his event? And he calls a bigoted criminal who tortured inmates a “strong champion of the rule of law”? Even Arizona Republicans know this man undermines the most basic of American values. https://t.co/RwcQtKk86S
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) May 2, 2018
What Mike Pence said about Joe Arpaio is indefensible. It’s also an important reminder that the rot goes deeper than just Trump.
— Brandt (@UrbanAchievr) May 2, 2018
For anyone who thought Mike Pence was any better than Donald Trump, he just said he was “honored” to be at a GOP fundraiser with Joe Arpaio.
— Protect Robert Mueller ✊ (@DisavowTrump20) May 2, 2018
This is embarrassing for Pence.
Arpaio is reviled in Arizona’s law enforcement community because he did *not* champion the rule of law. https://t.co/Tq4yI0jhE7
— Tim Alberta (@TimAlberta) May 1, 2018
Joe Arpaio is a racist and Mike Pence finds it an honor to recognize him. https://t.co/X5joVmgrl3
— Julissa Arce (@julissaarce) May 2, 2018
“The choice come November could not be clearer for fair-minded Arizonans,” said HRC Arizona State Manager Justin Unga. “Ward, McSally and Arpaio have proven that they will not represent all Arizonans equally and fairly, and will only double down on the anti-equality agenda laid out by the Trump-Pence administration. Kyrsten Sinema is the champion we need in the United States Senate to ensure that every Arizonan has a fair shot at the American dream — and that’s why HRC has proudly endorsed her.”
Featured image via Gage Skidmore