More than half a year into his presidency, Donald Trump has not yet used his constitutional authority to grant a pardon. Although there is speculation and hints from the President himself that he may pardon former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Trump’s final decision is far from certain.
Despite the ambiguous situation, Arpaio continues to express deep support for the President. During a Fox News phone interview with Neil Cavuto, Sheriff Arpaio indicated that he will “respect” Trump “pardon or no pardon.”
Arpaio told Neil Cavuto of Fox Business that his commitment to the President remains as strong as it was during the 2016 campaign. As The Guardian reports, Arpaio endorsed Trump and made appearances with him on the campaign trail. Both men have shared a tough stance on immigration.
According to Arpaio, his support of the President is not conditional on whether a pardon is ultimately issued. He said: “I have a great deal of respect for [President Trump]. I always will have, pardon or no pardon,” Arpaio said. “I’m with him ’til the end. As long as he’s the president, I will support him.”
The former Maricopa County Sheriff said he didn’t attend Trump’s Tuesday night rally in Phoenix as a safety precaution for himself and attendees, who might have been put in danger by violent protests to his appearance. Arpaio stated he was not invited but was not told to stay away. He affirmed his absence at the rally was his own decision.
As covered by Breitbart, Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt last month by a Bill Clinton-appointed judge in a ruling that could put him in jail for six months. Arpaio’s sentencing is scheduled for October, and it is unknown whether the court will jail the 85-year-old former lawman.
The civil rights suit that ended in Arpaio’s guilty verdict stems from investigations that began nearly a decade ago within the first few months of the Obama Department of Justice, which was then headed by Eric Holder. Arpaio was accused of practicing racial profiling in his crackdown on illegal immigration.
A federal judge ordered Arpaio’s office to cease its practices. According to Arpaio, a misunderstanding caused him to continue his methods, resulting in the charges of criminal contempt.
Because the charge is only a misdemeanor punishable by no more than six months in jail, Arpaio did not qualify for the Constitutional guarantee of a trial by jury. His fate was decided by US District Judge Susan Bolton, a Clinton appointee. Arpaio’s legal team petitioned for a jury several times but were denied. This has led Arpaio’s supporters to argue that the case has been politicized.
The former Sheriff told Cavuto that he is “discouraged” by the result of his case, and fears that others may face the same challenges he has. “What they did to me, they can do to anybody,” Arpaio said. He warned that President Trump is the next target of these political forces and cautions they may attempt to remove him using similar tactics.
President Trump recently said that he believes Sheriff Joe Arpaio was convicted of a misdemeanor crime simply because he did his job. Do you agree with President Trump?
Trump has hinted at pardoning Arpaio. As CNN reported on the President’s Tuesday night rally, Trump said: You know what, I’ll make a prediction: I think [Arpaio is] going to be just fine.”
Arpaio would be Trump’s first presidential pardon. It would be a controversial decision, as Arpaio is intensely scorned by the Left and highly praised by the Right. Political observers are paying close attention to the conclusion of the Arpaio case.