As President Trump spoke in Arizona at one of his famous rallies where he converses directly to Americans without the filter of the mainstream media, he made a surprising announcement about one of his longest supporters.
Trump defended former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who faces legal troubles for detaining unlawful immigrants, saying he was just doing his job. “Do the people in this room like Sheriff Joe?” Trump said to cheers from the crowd. He suggested that Arpaio was convicted of a crime for merely “doing his job,” and that Arpaio should have had a jury trial instead of a bench trial. “But you know what? I’ll make a prediction. I think he’s going to be just fine,” Trump said. He explained that although he wouldn’t pardon Arpaio at the rally to avoid “causing any controversy,” he said, however, that Arpaio should “feel good,” according to Fox News.
The sheriff is facing up to six months in prison after he was convicted of a misdemeanor for criminal contempt after ignoring a federal judge’s order to stop detaining people who, in his experience, were suspected of being unlawful immigrants.
Known as “America’s toughest sheriff,” Arpaio has been one of Trump’s most vocal supporters even as far back as the Republican primary in 2016. He was convicted by US District Judge Susan Bolton for disregarding an Arizona judge’s order in 2011 to stop the anti-immigrant traffic patrols, which he maintained for 17 months after.
The sheriff said he had no intention of willfully breaking the law, but said that it happened because one of his former attorneys did not explain to him the full measure of the restrictions within the court order.
“So, was Sheriff Joe convicted for doing his job?” Trump asked his audience. “You know what, I’ll make a prediction: I think he’s going to be just fine, okay? But I won’t do it tonight because I don’t want to cause any controversy. But Sheriff Joe should feel good.”
The President had made previous allusions that he would be considering pardoning the sheriff. He said last week on Fox News that he was seriously considering pardoning Arpaio and said he might do it soon – a comment that some thought would mean at the rally.
“I am seriously considering a pardon for Sheriff Arpaio. 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, 85, is expected to be sentenced on October 5th, and could face up to six months of jail time. However, many attorneys doubt that he will receive any jail time considering his age.
President Trump, commenting on Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s misdemeanor case, said that Arpaio should “feel good.” Do you think Trump should pardon Sheriff Joe?
After the verdict was announced, Arpaio’s lawyers made a statement in which they said, “the judge’s verdict is contrary to what every single witness testified in the case. Arpaio believes that a jury would have found in his favor and that it will,” a sentiment shared by the president as well as many ordinary Americans who appreciate Arpaio’s service to this country.
This isn’t the first time a Trump supporter has come under fire, and it probably won’t be the last. Putting an 85-year-old man in jail for half a year for a relatively minor misinterpretation of a court order six years ago seems mildly excessive.
Hopefully, this patriot will be fairly treated in the months to come, instead of punished for doing his job.