President Donald Trump stood by his decision to pardon former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio at his Monday press conference after members of his own party criticized the move.
“Sheriff Joe is a patriot, Sheriff Joe loves our country, Sheriff Joe protected our borders, and Sheriff Joe was very unfairly treated by the Obama administration, especially right before an election, an election he would have won,” Trump told reporters when asked about the pardon, highlighting what he saw as a political decision on his predessessor’s part to prosecute Arpaio.
President Trump contrasted the relative lack of outrage accompanying pardons and commutations by his Democratic predecessors Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. For example, the president pointed to Clinton’s last minute pardon of financier Marc Rich, who as Trump put it, “was charged with crimes going back decades, including illegally buying oil from Iran while it held 53 American hostages … he was pardoned after his wife donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Clintons.”
Also on Trump’s hit list were Clinton pardonee Susan Rosenberg, a Weather Underground terrorist in the 1970s and 80s suspected of involvement in the deadly 1981 Brinks robbery, Obama’s commutation of the sentences of Bradley (now “Chelsea”) Manning, the source behind one of the largest leaks in U.S. Army history, and a different left-wing terrorist, FALN member Oscar Lopez Rivera.