President Trump shockingly pardoned controversial former Maricopa County, AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio on August 25. Arpaio had been convicted of criminal contempt in a racial profiling case, but he’s now getting off scott free.
Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, 85, is no longer a convicted criminal courtesy of President Donald Trump, 71. Arpaio was found guilty of misdemeanor criminal contempt in a racial profiling case in July, and was supposed to be sentenced on October 5. Arpaio faced a maximum six months in prison, but because of the president’s actions late in the day on Aug. 25, he will now walk free.
Many expected Trump to pardon the controversial ex-lawman at a campaign-style rally in Phoenix on Aug. 22. But he told the crowd, “I won’t do it tonight because I don’t want to cause any controversy,” after asking, “Was Sheriff Joe convicted for doing his job?” Well, it looks like the tycoon wanted to avoid as much of an uproar as possible, doing it in the early evening hours of a Friday heading into a weekend that will be dominated by the news of the destructive path of Hurricane Harvey through Texas. Way to bury the story Trump!
The former sheriff had defied an Arizona state judge’s 2011 order to stop traffic patrols that targeted suspected undocumented immigrants. But Trump stood by Arpaio, whom he said had “done a lot” in cracking down on illegal immigration. During a Fox News appearance in early August, Trump said that he may pardon Arpaio. “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.”
Arpaio said prior to the August 22 rally that he would accept the pardon if given, and that “of course” he would be at the rally. Obviously. He said in early August that the White House had not approached him about a pardon, but that may have changed closer to the rally. “I’ve been doing rallies with him many, many times, and sometimes things are done the last minute,” he told POLITICO.
Even without the controversial pardoning, Trump’s campaign-style rally was still volatile. The president is still campaigning seven months into his presidency, and while he faced cheers inside the Phoenix Convention Center, he was met with a massive crowd of protestors outside. The president is under higher scrutiny after giving a speech the week prior that seemed to defend the white supremacists in Charlottesville. Rather than condemning them entirely, he said that there was violence and problems “on both sides” — aka placing blame on counter-protestors trying to fight neo-Nazis, the KKK, and the alt-right.
HollywoodLifers, are you shocked that Trump pardoned Arpaio? Let us know!