(Reuters/Laura Segall)

McCain bashes Trump over Arpaio pardon, but many Republicans remain quiet

McCain said the move "undermines" Trump's respect for the law, but other Republicans haven't said much


Charlie May
August 26, 2017 7:26PM (UTC)

After President Donald Trump officially issued a pardon for the former sheriff of Arizona’s Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio, the move was condemned by Sen. John McCain R-Ariz., but the majority of Republicans have remained silent.

Trump dropped the news on Friday night as the coast of Texas was slammed with the biggest hurricane the state has seen in decades.

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"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," a statement from McCain said. "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 added that, "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."

Besides McCain, many Republicans have been largely quiet about the controversial decision, or issued a weak refute.

"Regarding the Arpaio pardon, I would have preferred that the President honor the judicial process and let it take its course," Sen. Jeff Flake R-Ariz., tweeted despite being on the receiving end of public attacks by the president as of late.

Democrats, however, were quite explicit in their reactions and were quick to speak out against Trump's decision.

"The Arpaio pardon is basically a big middle finger to America. A loud, proud declaration that this Administration supports racism," Sen. Chris Murphy D-Conn., tweeted Friday night.

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Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said Trump was "a coward" for making his decision amidst a major hurricane.

"Donald Trump just gave a free pass to his buddy Joe Arpaio, the nation’s most notorious agent of racism and bigotry, during a natural disaster that could hurt millions. That's not presidential, that's a coward," Perez said in a statement, according to The Hill.

Perez added, "Sheriff Arpaio used racial profiling to tear apart immigrant families and devastate Latino communities. At the same time, he failed to investigate hundreds of crimes, including dozens of reported child molestations."

Arpaio's long history of his abuses of power are well documented, and he's also showed little remorse for his actions.

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"It’s amazing what I say, and what I do, and what I get away with,” Arpaio told filmmakers in a documentary about his career as a sheriff. "It’s amazing."

Both the White House, and the president have praised Arpaio. Trump said Arpaio was an "American patriot" who helped keep "Arizona safe."

"After more than fifty years of admirable service to our Nation, [Arpaio] is worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon," a statement from the White House said. On the campaign trail, Trump repeatedly claimed he was the "law and order" candidate.

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Charlie May

Charlie May is a news writer at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @charliejmay

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