Last week as an unprecedented natural disaster threatened the Gulf Coast of Texas, President Trump seized the opportunity to do the unthinkable: he pardoned the psychopathic concentration camp enforcer Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
The move was so unconscionable that even the weak-willed Republican Congress was forced to criticize the president. Now in desperation, Trump and his lackeys have taken to defaming President Obama to defend the indefensible.
This morning, Trump retweeted this lie from Fox News propagandist Katie Pavlich:
Pavlich is responding to criticism from Ben Rhodes, a former policy advisor and speechwriter to Obama, and her claim is factually inaccurate on a number of levels.
She is referring to conservative lightning rods, Chelsea Manning and Oscar López Rivera — neither of whom were pardoned but had lengthy sentences commuted. But the deceit does not stop there.
The Defense Department determined “with high confidence that [Manning’s leaks] will have no direct personal impact on current and former US leadership in Iraq.” In light of that, and the abuse Manning had taken during her seven years in prison, Obama determined — not that she should be pardoned or did nothing wrong — but that time had been served. Manning’s disclosures have earned her numerous international honors — not from America’s enemies but our allies.
López Rivera is a former member of a militant Puerto Rican independence organization, who pled guilty to charges brought against him in the late 1970’s. He also served in Vietnam with the U.S. Army and earned a Bronze Star for his service. His sentence was commuted after serving 35 years in prison at the age of 74.
The stories of these two Americans is complex, both served years in prison, and neither were pardoned. In contrast, Arpaio bragged about torturing people based on their ethnicity and race, driving many to their deaths. His tenure as Sheriff is a dark chapter in American history and his pardon is an abomination.
Any attempt to equate the actions of the two presidents is as dishonest as it is disgraceful.
Sheila Norton is a writer with ten years of Capitol Hill experience. Subscribe to the OD Action email to get all the hottest news delivered right to your inbox every day at www.odaction.com