Now that he’s kinda sorta finally managed to say that racism is bad, how does Donald Trump get back in the good graces of much of his base? Perhaps by pardoning former Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, convicted of criminal contempt of court for refusing to follow a court order. He told Fox News he’s “seriously considering” it.
President Trump may soon issue a pardon for Joe Arpaio, the colorful former Arizona sheriff who was found guilty two weeks ago of criminal contempt for defying a state judge’s order to stop traffic patrols targeting suspected undocumented immigrants. In his final years as Maricopa County sheriff, Arpaio had emerged as a leading opponent of illegal immigration.“I am seriously considering a pardon for Sheriff Arpaio,” the president said Sunday, during a conversation with Fox News at his club in Bedminster, N.J. “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.”
Trump said the pardon could happen in the next few days, should he decide to do so.
While he does have the constitutional authority to do so, this would clearly be an abuse of that authority. Note that he didn’t say the conviction was wrong. He has no idea if it is, of course. Pardons should only be issued in the most serious of cases, after a long and detailed discussion and recommendations by the DOJ, not as a spur of the moment gift to a political ally just a couple weeks after they were convicted. Whether you think someone is a patriot or not has precisely nothing to do with whether they committed a crime.