President Donald Trump announced Friday evening that he had issued a pardon for Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is known as “America’s sheriff,” and served as the top sheriff in Maricopa County, Arizona, from 1993-2016.
Liberals and Democrats lost their collective minds over the move.
The White House issued a statement late Friday night announcing the pardon.
“Throughout his time as Sheriff, Arpaio continued his life’s work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration,” the statement said, according to The Hill.
“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,” it added.
Arpaio was convicted on July 31 of criminal contempt for disobeying a federal judge’s order to halt an initiative he started to crackdown on illegal immigrants in his jurisdiction. The initiative violated the civil rights of American citizens who had been targeted for their hispanic appearance, the judge concluded. Arpaio continued the program for more than a year after the judge’s order to end it.
He had faced a maximum of six months in jail for his crimes before Trump’s pardon.
Liberals, Democrats, some liberal Republicans and even an Arizona newspaper quickly voiced their outrage with Trump over the move:
By pardoning Sheriff Arpaio, Trump has again made clear he will use the powers of the presidency to defend racism and discrimination.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) August 26, 2017
I'm not surprised Trump pardoned racial profiler Arpaio. White Nationalists, KKK, & Duke celebrated Trump's election b/c he is one of them!
— Maxine Waters (@RepMaxineWaters) August 26, 2017
Trump's pardon of Arpaio was just 1 more in a series of secret handshakes w the white power movement https://t.co/H2C9pOKAAc
— Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) August 26, 2017
Sheriff Joe Arpaio got in trouble not for targeting undocumented immigrants but for indiscriminately targeting all Latinos.Trump's a racist.
— Cenk Uygur (@cenkuygur) August 26, 2017
If Donald Trump can get away with pardoning a racist terrorist like Joe Arpaio, no one is safe. Listen, white folks: NO ONE IS SAFE.
— Charles Clymer🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) August 26, 2017
EDITORIAL: Trump made it clear that he's not just OK with institutional racism, it's his goal. via @azcopinions https://t.co/Cm3E9bKFwb
— azcentral (@azcentral) August 26, 2017
Pres Trump's transgender military ban & Arpaio pardon are more proof of his opposition to our country's North Star: all are created equal
— Senator Tim Kaine (@timkaine) August 26, 2017
.@POTUS's pardon of Joe Arpaio, who illegally profiled Latinos, undermines his claim for the respect of rule of law https://t.co/2FckGtwQ2m
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) August 26, 2017
One former Obama administration official even referred to Trump with a Spanish curse word, which typically means “dumbass.”
Trump in one word tonight: #pendejo
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) August 26, 2017
Castro served as former President Barack Obama’s secretary of housing and urban development from 2014 to the end of his presidency.
The pardon announcement came amid a busy evening of news. In addition to Hurricane Harvey ravaging the East Texas coastline, Trump officially barred transgender soldiers from serving in the U.S. military. His deputy assistant, Sebastian Gorka, also left the White House on Friday amid scrutiny.
But Trump still found time to respond to news of the pardoning and offer praise for Arpaio.
“I am pleased to inform you that I have just granted a full Pardon to 85 year old American patriot Sheriff Joe Arpaio. He kept Arizona safe!” he wrote on his personal Twitter account late Friday.