During his recent rally in Phoenix, Arizona, President Trump hinted that former Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio would be pardoned, after being convicted of contempt of court for refusing to stop racially profiling people in the name of cracking down on illegal immigration. Trump told his supporters at the rally:
‘You know what, I’ll make a prediction: I think he’s going to be just fine, OK? But I won’t do it tonight because I don’t want to cause any controversy. But Sheriff Joe should feel good.’
On Friday evening, Trump made good on his “prediction” and pardoned Arpaio.
A statement from the White House praised Arpaio’s work and said about the president’s decision:
‘In 1992, the problems facing his community pulled Arpaio out of retirement to return to law enforcement. He ran and won a campaign to become Sheriff of Maricopa County. Throughout his time as Sheriff, Arpaio continued his life’s work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration. Sheriff Joe Arpaio is now eighty-five years old, and after more than fifty years of admirable service to our Nation, he is worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon.’
A few hours after news broke about his pardon, Arpaio tweeted about it himself and thanked Trump. He even used one of the president’s favorite phrases: “witch hunt.”
After posting two tweets sucking up to Trump, Arpaio went on to thank his “loyal supporters” and tweeted a link to a fundraising account set up to help him pay his legal fees.
With the exception of a few of his “supporters” who were happy to get a shout out, most people did not appreciate Arpaio’s tweets. Check out some of the best responses below:
Trump’s pardon of Arpaio also hasn’t been well-received by civil rights lawyers. American Civil Liberties Union Deputy Legal Director Cecilia Wang, who sought the court injunction against Arpaio, said about the decision:
‘Once again, the president has acted in support of illegal, failed immigration enforcement practices that target people of color and that have been struck down by the courts.’
Meanwhile, Vanita Gupta, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and former head of the U.S. Justice Department’s civil rights division, said that the pardon sends “a dangerous message that a law enforcement officer who abused his position of power and defied a court order can simply be excused by a president who himself clearly does not respect the law.”
Featured image via Alex Wong/Getty Images.