Editorial: Arpaio pardon is petty payoff of political convenience

Posted August 30

Jan. 26, 2016 file photo, then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is joined by Joe Arpaio, the sheriff of metro Phoenix, at a campaign event in Marshalltown, Iowa. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

CBC Editorial: Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017; Editorial # 8205
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company

While it isn’t a surprise, it is no less a disappointment that President Donald Trump granted a premature, unwise and undeserved pardon to former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio.

It is no grand gesture of compassion or equanimity. It is a petty political payoff to a two-bit tin-horn who lied and used his authority to pick on the most vulnerable for his own aggrandizement.

Sadly it was an apropos gesture for Trump, who ignored the established pardon process and displayed disdain for the judiciary, to accommodate his buddy. While the president acted within this authority in granting the pardon, the haste reveals the true unsavory nature of the deal. It was a gesture to bullies, bigots and privileged law-breakers – all the kinds of characters that President Trump seems too comfortable around.

The Arpaio case is the direct result of the sheriff’s despicable tactics to sweep up undocumented immigrants. In 2007, Arpaio’s deputies held a man with a valid Mexican tourist visa for nine hours. The man sued, in federal court, on the basis of racial profiling.

It was an outgrowth of that case, and the 2011 injunction against profiling issued by a federal judge (a Republican appointed by President George W. Bush), that eventually led to Arpaio’s contempt of court conviction – and thus the pardon.

Maricopa County taxpayers have spent an estimated $72 million defending Arpaio and his department against racial profiling charges. The contempt of court violation resulted in the establishment of a $1 million fund, also financed by taxpayers, to compensate Latinos who were illegally detained when the sheriff, and deputies on his orders, ignored a court order to end racial profiling and continued the illegal detentions.

Like Trump, Arpaio was a leader of the “birther” movement – spreading the false theory that President Obama wasn’t born in the United States. He even sent posse to Hawaii in 2012 to verify the president’s birth certificate.

In 2007, two owners of The Phoenix New Times, a tough critic of the sheriff, were arrested after the newspaper accurately reported on a Maricopa County subpoena seeking readers’ internet browsing records. The charges were dropped. The paper’s owners won millions in a settlement after suing the sheriff’s office.

Last fall, after six terms in office, the voters decided enough was enough. America’s self-appointed “toughest sheriff” was soundly defeated by a Democrat. He was convicted on federal contempt of court charges with the distinct possibility of serving time in prison.

America’s toughest sheriff? Please. Trump’s pardon proves he’s a wimp who had to cash in a political debt to stay out of prison.

His tinfoil badge melts under the harsh beam of truth.

Neither the president nor the ex-sheriff – and certainly not the nation – have anything to celebrate over this shady pardon of convenience.


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  • John Sims Aug 30, 11:49 a.m.
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    Editorials are opinions, you know what they say about opinions their like @$$%*!& everyone has one. :-)

  • Teddy Fowler Aug 30, 10:40 a.m.
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    Obama had more commutations than any other President ever... and more total clemency than any President since Truman... more than the last five Presidents combined.... Trump has now done one... just one... and the crazy media and ever crazier left have been going wacko ever since it was announced... just typical scream, yell, whine, and cry everything Trump no matter what it is.... y'all need to get a life...

  • Ralph Savary Aug 30, 9:58 a.m.
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    View quoted thread

    Of course that was proven in a court of law right? Yeah I didn't think so.

  • Jeff Freuler Aug 30, 9:36 a.m.
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    Interesting how such much attention this pardon is getting. I don't remember Obama getting this much over his pardon of Gitmo terrorist

  • Ralph Savary Aug 30, 7:39 a.m.
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    Anyone who would violate the constitution under the pretense of enforcing the law is certainly not a patriot, he's a criminal. Break the law to "enforce the law"? Yeah that makes a lot of sense.

  • Marty Martin Aug 30, 7:24 a.m.
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    I rarely use the "F" word, but Trump's pardon of Arpaio is clearly fascism.

  • Ed Smail Aug 30, 7:08 a.m.
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    Sheriff Arpaio enforced the law and is a patriot. We could use a few Sheriffs like Arpaio here in NC.
    ICE,ICE baby.

  • Eugene Irene Aug 30, 6:03 a.m.
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    The short and select memory of the leftist MSM forgot about Mark Rich the most notorious tax cheat in history and BIG Dem donor or Chelsea Manning a convicted traitor or the murderous FALN members. They instead focus on a man who has devoted his life to law enforcement and has been a thorn in the side of the lawless left. Its routine for the left!