"Today, President Donald J. Trump granted a Presidential pardon to Joe Arpaio, former Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona. Arpaio’s life and career, which began at the age of 18 when he enlisted in the military after the outbreak of the Korean War, exemplify selfless public service. After serving in the Army, Arpaio became a police officer in Washington, D.C. and Las Vegas, NV and later served as a Special Agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), formerly the Bureau of Narcotics. After 25 years of admirable service, Arpaio went on to lead the DEA’s branch in Arizona.
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."
Just minutes before Hurricane Harvey touched the Texas coast, Donald Trump issued the pardon, then tweeted:
I am pleased to inform you that I have just granted a full Pardon to 85 year old American patriot Sheriff Joe Arpaio. He kept Arizona safe!
Last week, House Representative Trent Franks (R-AR, 8th) issued the following statement:
“Sheriff Arpaio has been a long-respected member of the law enforcement community who has dedicated his life to keeping Arizona communities safe. He has no prior convictions, no criminal record, no record of wrongs. In his twilight years, he deserves to retire peacefully and enjoy the satisfaction of a hard-earned and honorable retirement.
“Let us have an honest moment – this has been a political prosecution from the beginning. The real reason Arpaio is in legal trouble right now is because a Clinton-appointed judge decided to issue a judgment that contradicted every single witness that testified in the case.
“Pardoning Sheriff Arpaio would be celebrated by Arizonans that appreciate and respect a man who has accomplished so much for law and order in our state. It would absolutely be the right thing for President Trump to pardon Sheriff Joe.”
Now, after the pardon, Franks took to Twitter with:
The president did the right thing -- Joe Arpaio lived an honorable life serving our country, and he deserves an honorable retirement.
Senator John McCain (R - AZ) however, was not happy about the pardon. He stated:
“No one is above the law and the individuals entrusted with the privilege of being sworn law officers should always seek to be beyond reproach in their commitment to fairly enforcing the laws they swore to uphold. Mr. Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt for continuing to illegally profile Latinos living in Arizona based on their perceived immigration status in violation of a judge’s orders. The President has the authority to make this pardon, but doing so at this time undermines his claim for the respect of rule of law as Mr. Arpaio has shown no remorse for his actions.”
Senator Senator Al Franken (D - MN) tweeted,
"Presidential pardons should not be rewards for bad behavior and discrimination. Granting a pardon to Joe Arpaio is shameful and appalling."
Arpaio, however, is very grateful. He responded to the pardon with:
I am humbled and incredibly grateful to President Trump. I look fwd to putting this chapter behind me and helping to #MAGA
Senator Jack Reed (D - RI) stated:
“All Americans should be outraged by the way President Trump pardoned Mr. Arpaio.
“Mr. Arpaio abused his power as a law officer, even after the courts ordered him to stop because his actions were unconstitutional.
“This is another example of President Trump endorsing discrimination. The President may have the authority to pardon, but the American people have the ultimate power to hold him accountable.”
House Representative Albio Sires (D-NJ, 8th) issued the following statement on President Trump's decision to pardon former Sheriff Joe Arpaio who was convicted of criminal contempt of court:
"Last night, President Trump once again proved he is willing to give a rubber stamp of approval to racism and bigotry when he pardoned Joe Arpaio. Arpaio repeatedly targeted, tormented, and harassed Latinos based on their race, routinely violating the 4th Amendment. By ignoring the court's ruling and abusing his power to pardon one of his early supporters, the President has shown a complete disrespect for the rule of law and elevated a man who sought to sow fear and distrust across the country.
Rather than working to unite the nation, this action follows in the President's pattern of divisiveness and goes against the core values of our nation. I condemn his actions and will continue to stand against racism, bigotry, and hatred in all its forms."
House Representative Adam Smith (D-WA, 9th) said:
“President Trump's pardon of Sheriff Arpaio is an affront to the rule of law and a deeply disturbing use of Presidential Power to sanction discrimination. As Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arpaio flagrantly ignored clear Federal immigration enforcement guidelines and aggressively pursued policies of racial profiling. His continued violation of civil rights led to a conviction in a court of law for his unlawful immigration practices. Trump's pardon is an endorsement of the bigoted and racists actions that led to Sheriff Arpaio's conviction, and undermines the pursuit of justice that our system of government is built on.”
House Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL, 23rd):
"After drawing kudos from racists for his response to a fatal white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Donald Trump chooses now, of all times, to pardon former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. This shameful act – done under cover of a Friday night rollout – is just another ugly, brazen pander to his nativist base. With a notorious reputation for ethnic profiling, Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt related to his refusal to stop imprisoning suspected illegal immigrants after being ordered by a federal judge to stop. This pardon will only sew more discord and division within our nation, and maintain the steady stream of shame that Trump heaps upon his sacred office nearly every day."
Senator Elizabeth Warren- (D - MA):
"Speaking of making America less safe, President Trump and Sheriff Joe Arpaio are two of a kind: both believe the law doesn't apply to them and have used their office to create a platform for racism and bigotry. No one - not Trump and not Arpaio - is above the law."
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse- (D - RI):
“Sheriff Arpaio systemically discriminated against Arizona Latinos in defiance of our Constitution and ignored our courts. He does not deserve a pardon. Now is a time to bind the wounds left by white nationalists’ repugnant attacks in Charlottesville. Instead, President Trump has again doubled down on the side of ignorance, bigotry, intolerance, and hate."
House Representative Andy Biggs (R-AZ, 5th):
"As a member of the Arizona Congressional delegation, I applaud President Trump for pardoning Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The President brought justice to a situation where the Obama administration had attempted to destroy a political opponent.
“Sheriff Joe Arpaio made many enemies in the judicial system, the media, and the left because he enforced laws that the federal government ignored. He did right by the law – even as the political consequences continued to mount. America owes Sheriff Arpaio a debt of gratitude and not the injustice of a political witch hunt.
“I am very happy for Sheriff Joe Arpaio and hope that he will be able to live out his days in peace and comfort, knowing that his President and country are grateful for his service to this nation. I look forward to seeing how the Sheriff plans to serve this country in the next chapter of his life.”
House Representative Joaquin Castro (D-TX, 20th):
“President Trump used the power of the presidency to pardon a bigot today. Sheriff Arpaio is a stain on law enforcement. He directed the targeting of individuals based on their race, and continued the illegal, discriminatory practice after a judge ordered him to stop.
“The President's decision to pardon Sheriff Arpaio in the wake of the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville will embolden racist factions of our society. This callous announcement deepens divisions between Americans and hinders the healing our nation needs.”
House Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN, 9th):
“President Trump's pardoning of Joe Arpaio isn't just bad, it's dangerous. The President continues to show a callous disregard for the independence of our federal judiciary,” said Congressman Cohen. “Even worse, he did so in defense of a man who had been criminally convicted of failing to follow a court order in connection with a lawsuit involving racial profiling. This was not only a terrible decision, but if reports are accurate that he did not consult the Department of Justice, it was also done incredibly irresponsibly. Presidents have a duty to consult professionals and experts before taking action. Authoritarianism always starts with attacks on the press and the judiciary. We must guard against these kind of attacks against democracy. The rule of law is one of our basic precepts. We fought a revolution to place the law above men. By pardoning the former sheriff, the President has once again abused his authority and divided our nation. I will be reviewing the President’s action with my Judiciary Committee colleagues to determine how best to address it.”
House Representative Joseph Crowley (D-NY, 14th):
“President Trump has once again chosen to appease the most anti-immigrant voices in his party. Pardoning one of the country’s most notorious anti-immigrant crusaders sends a chilling message to hardworking immigrants and their families throughout the country. And waving away the crimes of someone who is currently facing jail time for refusing to stop racially profiling immigrants sadly only confirms President Trump’s inability to stand up to those who spread hate.”
House Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD, 7th):
“The President claims that he wants to unite the country and fight against racism, yet his own words and actions show the opposite. He followed up his abhorrent statements about Charlottesville—that some white supremacists are 'very fine people'—by pardoning a racist cop for his crimes against minorities. Over and over again, President Trump has promoted what Speaker Ryan once called ‘textbook racism’ while exhibiting contempt for the rule of law. President Trump is sending a message with these words and his actions, and it is one of hate and divisiveness rather than hope and unity.”
House Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN, 5th):
“Trump's pardon of Joe Arpaio proves what the world already knows: that the President thinks criminal law-breaking is okay, as long as it only harms certain people.
“Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was one of our country’s most notorious racists who racially profiled Latinos and tortured and humiliated inmates. He was lawfully convicted for refusing to comply with a court order to stop violating people’s constitutional rights.
“Pardons are used when those convicted of crimes show a willingness to reform and become better citizens. Joe Arpaio has not done either. He has not apologized, shown remorse for his crimes or a willingness to repair the damage he’s done to his community.
“Yet, Donald Trump believes that a man who used race as a way to abuse and oppress people is an ‘American patriot’.
“This pardon comes just hours after it was reported that the Trump Administration may end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and signed a directive to ban transgender military recruits - all while a Category 4 Hurricane was making landfall in Texas and putting millions of lives at risk.
“And let’s not forget, just two weeks ago, Trump said that some white supremacists and neo-Nazis were 'fine people'.
“It's clear. President Trump is giving cover to white supremacy.”
House Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL, 4th):
“It isn’t easy to find a convicted, notorious racist, but Trump found him and pardoned him. Sheriff Arpaio chose to ignore the law and judgements by federal courts. He chose to use race and ethnicity as a pretext to deprive people of their rights. He shredded the Constitution and became a celebrity for Fox News, white supremacists and the President.
“Nobody believed the President when he said he would be the ‘Law and Order’ President and he has proven us all right. Joe Arpaio should serve a very, very long time for his crimes, but in him, Trump finds a kindred spirit. Both men are not ashamed to use overt appeals to racism to glorify themselves and both are not ashamed of abusing public office if it enhances their personal brand. This is a sad chapter even by the standards of the tragic saga of Trump.”