The controversial Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of criminal contempt in 2015, has just been pardoned by President Trump.
So, what does this mean for Trump, his base, and the status of the law in our country today?
First, and perhaps most importantly, the President has proven to the American people that he has no regard for the rule of law in our country. Sheriff Arpaio was found guilty by a jury of peers for directly disobeying a court ruling. He regularly engaged in racial profiling and arguably violated the 8th amendment, including not allowing water for inmates kept outside in the Arizona desert. Arpaio should be in prison.
In regards to his base, Trump’s pardoning of the sadistic Arizona sheriff is simply another way to throw red meat to his base. The President understands that by openly supporting, condoning, and even pardoning government officials who vilify immigrants, he only galvanizes his most die-hard supporters.
Besides the potential support the President has gained from his supporters, many top Republicans have openly condemned his decision to pardon Arpaio. “The President has the authority to make this pardon, but doing so at this time undermines his claim for the respect of rule of law as Mr. Arpaio has shown no remorse for his actions,” said John McCain, the senior Republican Senator from Arizona.
The junior Republican from Arizona, Jeff Flake, also criticized the President’s decision. What made the President’s decision even more disgusting, however, was the fact he apparently pardoned Arpaio during Hurricane Harvey in a bid to earn “far higher” ratings. He has shown time, and time, and time again that he is more concerned with ratings than anything else, and it is clear he cares more about his public perception than our laws and courts.