President Trump’s audacious decision to defy the opinion of Federal courts and grant a pardon to former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is still reverberating in both Arpaio’s home state of Arizona and in the halls of Washington DC.
Trump granted Arpaio, who was convicted of criminal contempt of court after refusing a judge’s order to cease a policy of targeting Hispanic-looking people in traffic patrols in search of illegal immigrants, a pardon yesterday while the nation was distracted by the impending arrival of the deadly hurricane Harvey onto the shores of Texas.
If the president had hoped that the news would be lost and ignored in the wall-to-wall weather coverage, he was sadly mistaken, with criticism of the decision quickly emanating from both Democrats and Republicans who respect the integrity of America’s justice system and feel that the pardon makes a mockery of the judicial process.
Now, Senator John McCain, who represents Arpaio’s state of Arizona in Congress, has weighed in with his take on Trump’s autocratic action, and it’s not pretty.
McCain released a statement that in no uncertain terms condemns the pardon, saying that it “undermines his claim for the respect of rule of law.”
“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,” McCain said. “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.”
Arpaio has been an ardent Trump supporter, and, despite the Sheriff having been voted out of office by the people of Maricopa County last November, the president is delivering a form of political payback that has been accused of being another nod and wink to his white supremacist and neo-Nazi anti-immigrant base after the national repugnance at that base’s instigation of violence in Charlottesville, Virginia at the “Unite the Right” rally last week and Trump’s refusal to acknowledge the perpetrators.
With McCain’s condemnation of Trump, both of Arizona’s Republican Senators have aligned themselves against the president on this issue. Senator Jeff Flake, a long time Trump antagonist sent the following tweet in response to the pardon:
Regarding the Arpaio pardon, I would have preferred that the President honor the judicial process and let it take its course.
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) August 26, 2017
The only positive spin that one could put on Trump’s disgraceful flouting of the judicial process is that as he continues to alienate more and more members of his own party in Congress, the less likely it will be that they will be willing to fight to pass his horrific legislative agenda.
Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.