One of the powers bestowed on the American President is the ability to issue a pardon. Although many Presidents have taken heat for the numbers of pardons issued, or the crimes those receiving pardons have committed, few have taken that power lightly. Now, less than 7 months into his term President Trump faces a very public decision- whether or not to pardon a former supporter.
Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio is arguably the most famous law enforcement official of the 21st century. He first gained the national spotlight for his practice of housing inmates in tents, forcing some to wear pink prison uniforms and feeding bologna sandwiches in his county lockup. Opponents claimed it was cruel and unusual punishment. Supporters called it fiscally reasonable and making jail somewhere people would not want to return to.
During the last Administration, he found himself facing a new line of critics, the Federal Government, after ordering his deputies to actively enforce Federal immigration laws. Again, there was a debate with those who believed he was protecting his border community when Federal Authorities would not and those who called it illegal profiling. Ultimately a Federal judge sided with his detractors and ordered the immigration patrolled stopped.
But then Sheriff Arpaio is not known for following the pack, or in this case a judge’s order, and continued the immigration patrols. Of course, judges tend to dislike when you fail to follow their orders and he was charged with criminal contempt – a misdemeanor with a possible sentence of 6 months in Federal Prison. Not a pleasant outcome for any former law enforcement official.
Now it appears his strong anti-immigration stance could be his ticket out of jail. President Trump, who was heavily supported by Arpaio, ran on a platform of immigration enforcement and is considering a pardon. In a weekend interview with Fox News, President Trump stated he is “seriously considering a pardon for Sheriff Arpaio…a great American patriot.”
I am not sure how an early term pardon of this sort will impact the President. Given its ties to not only a very vocal supporter and illegal immigration, I have no doubt it would draw the attention of every single one of his opposition. I also doubt that is what has kept the President from already issuing the pardon. I am sure there are advisors cautioning Trump on these very issues, but I think the real reason Arpaio is not already free and clear is a bit simpler – he still has an appeal pending. If the appeal is successful there may not be a need for a pardon or the political baggage it would carry.
Either way, Joe Arpaio is once again in the national spotlight. Once again the President faces a decision which has the potential of being both very popular and another reason for fingers to be pointed in his direction. I guess this is why Presidents look so much older when they leave office.
For his part, Arpaio has stated he would not ask for a pardon, but would not turn on down either. But then again who would?
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.