The president has said he is seriously considering a pardon for former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, an enthusiastic Trump supporter who shared the stage with him at campaign rallies and became a close ally in pushing for tougher immigration enforcement.
Arizona politicians have invoked the “rule of law” for more than a decade as the guiding principle in pushing for tougher immigration laws, arguing that no one is above the law. The rallying cry has become muted as President Trump considers a pardon for former Sheriff Joe Arpaio after a judge found he broke the law in defying a judge while carrying out traffic patrols that targeted immigrants, the Associated Press reports. The president told Fox News that he was seriously considering a pardon for Arpaio, an enthusiastic Trump supporter who shared the stage with him at campaign rallies and became a close ally in pushing for tougher immigration enforcement.
The prospect has fueled speculation that Trump will issue his first pardon when he visits Phoenix tonight for a rally. The Associated Press asked the offices of Arizona’s two senators and nine congressional representatives as well as Republican Gov. Doug Ducey to give their views on a possible Arpaio pardon. Three of the state’s four Democratic representatives wrote a letter to Trump urging him not to pardon Arpaio. The fourth, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, said the former sheriff should be held accountable but did not address the possible pardon or criticize the president over the possibility of granting one. Republican Reps. Paul Gosar and Trent Franks described the case against Arpaio as a political prosecution and supported a pardon. The offices of the other Republican members of Arizona’s congressional delegation didn’t respond to interview requests, including Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake. Arpaio was trounced at the polls in November after 24 years in office and found guilty last month of a misdemeanor contempt-of-court charge for defying the courts. The conviction stemmed from Arpaio’s decision to prolong immigration patrols after a judge in a racial-profiling lawsuit ordered him to stop them.