This past Friday, President Trump pardoned former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in the wake of his July conviction for defying a court order to stop illegally profiling members his town’s Hispanic community.
“Throughout his time as Sheriff, Arpaio continued his life’s work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration,” the White House said in a statement. “Sheriff Joe Arpaio is now eighty-five years old, and after more than fifty years of honorable service to our Nation, he is [a] worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon.”
From The Atlantic:
The pardon is Trump’s first since taking office, breaking a barrier relatively early in his tenure. Almost two years passed before Barack Obama issued nine pardons to people convicted of relatively minor offenses; George W. Bush waited only a few days longer into his first term to erase convictions for selling moonshine and stealing $11. But Trump eschewed his predecessors’ modest lead, instead wiping clean a guilty verdict for criminal contempt of court for one of his staunchest political supporters after only eight months in office.
During a press conference today, Trump raised eyebrows when he said that he chose to announce the pardon just as Texas’s Hurricane Harvey was hitting because the “ratings would be far higher.”
Trump says he pardoned Arpaio as Harvey hit Texas because "I assumed the ratings would be far higher than they would be normally." (via CBS) pic.twitter.com/4SecfqrShU
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) August 28, 2017
Speaking to Fox News’ John Roberts, Trump started out by reiterating that the pardon was the “right thing to do.”
“And actually in the middle of a hurricane, even though it was a Friday evening, I assumed the ratings would be far higher than they would be normally — you know, the hurricane was just starting,” Trump said. “And I put it out that I had pardoned as we call — as we say ‘Sheriff Joe.'”
“He’s done a great job for the people of Arizona,” Trump continued. “He’s very strong on borders, very strong on illegal immigration. He is loved in Arizona.”
Featured image via screen grab