If you thought Donald Trump couldn’t sink any lower after his atrocious response to the racist terrorism in Charlottesville earlier this month, think again. In a despicable move designed to appeal to his racist base, Trump pardoned former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Arpaio, who was to be sentenced later this year for willfully violating a federal judge’s order by, as the Huff Post reported, “Unlawfully detaining individuals his officers claimed might be in the country illegally.” Continued the story:
Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who had previously proclaimed himself “America’s toughest sheriff,” was convicted of criminal contempt last month for violating a 2011 order that barred Arpaio and his office from detaining individuals solely based on suspicions about their legal status. Arpaio, 85, was scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 5.
“Throughout his time as Sheriff, Arpaio continued his life’s work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration,” the White House said in a statement late Friday. “Sheriff Joe Arpaio is now eighty-five years old, and after more than fifty years of admirable service to our Nation, he is a worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon.”
Arpaio, you will remember, was a high profile birther who questioned President Obama’s nationality alongside Trump:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2012
The move is little more than a PR stunt designed to keep Trump’s dwindling base happy and provide a distraction from the horrendous job he is doing as Commander in Chief. He also signed the transgender military ban today, doubling down on needless discrimination against another incredibly vulnerable segment of society.
For Trump and his administration, LGBT people, black and immigrant communities are seen as cannon fodder to be used to shore up support from his white, racist base. The White House’s statement that Arpaio spent his life “protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration,” is a direct message to his base. Arpaio locked up brown people, and we’re going to save him even if he broke the law.
Many on the right have a hard time understanding why so many people despise Trump so much. While his policies are horrendous, it is the needless bullying of those with the least power that provokes so much anger amongst decent people. Sheriff Arpaio has a long, sordid track record of racial profiling, discrimination, and human cruelty and is a poster child for white America’s hatred of black people and immigrants. Trump’s pardoning of Arpaio was an explicit endorsement of all of those things, and the Commander in Chief has now cemented his legacy as America’s modern day White Supremacist president.
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Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.