Donald Trump’s Friday, August 25 (while Category 4 hurricane Harvey was making landfall) pardon of former (note the word “former”) sheriff Joe Arpaio was not a surprise. (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/28/us/politics/trump-finland-harvey-arpaio-russia.html?mcubz=0) But it was and is reprehensible.
It is another in a long list of Trumpian atrocities committed during the first eight months of the Trump administration.
Arizona citizens voted Arpaio out of office in November 2016 (https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/09/us/joe-arpaio-arizona-sheriff.html). Trump’s saying that Arpaio was “very strong on borders, very strong on illegal immigration,” and “loved in Arizona” was clearly false. Since Arpaio lost re-election, obviously he was not loved by the majority of Arizona citizens. And Trump’s claim that Arpaio was “very strong on illegal immigration” demonstrates his contempt for the rule of law — Arpaio was found guilty of committing numerous atrocities toward Latinos in Arizona. His guilt regarding those atrocities is what led the Arizona judiciary to find him in contempt. And those same atrocities are what got him voted out of office. And it’s those atrocities that got him pardoned by Trump.
It appears that Trump is now throwing the rule of law out the window and deciding whether or not to grant pardons based on mob rule — the mob being Trump’s base, which represents about 30% of the American populace.
When trying so very hard to justify his pardon of Arpaio, Trump cited the reaction of the crowd during his rally last Tuesday in Phoenix when he mentioned Arpaio: “The place went absolutely crazy when I was in Arizona last week.”
The whole Trump-Arpaio episode is sickening, but not surprising. I expected nothing more from Trump.