Racist Pardons Racist.
Yesterday President Trump pardoned Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt of court (a rarity) for refusing to follow a court order to cease his racist stop and arrest practices.
Trump pardoning a convicted racist is a calculated move. It is a signal to his white supremacist base that he is on their side after all. He panders to that base because they support him, and this pardon is part of that.
Trump stands in front of his throng of personality cult followers and declares Arpaio was “just doing his job.” In this he takes another slap at, and insults yet again, a Federal judiciary that found otherwise.
Arpaio was not doing “his job” by stopping and/or arresting Hispanics legally in the country, including American citizens of Hispanic descent, just because he suspected them of being illegals. His job did not include racist profiling, which is what the court found he did. In dealing with these charges, Arpaio deliberately destroyed evidence and lied to the court. That was not “his job” either. For these acts the court sanctioned Arpaio (and his attorneys) but did not yet find him in criminal contempt, though it certainly could have (and could have prosecuted him for obstruction of justice as well).
A Federal court ordered Arpaio to cease his racist practices of stopping, detaining and arresting people based on their race. Arpaio refused. He openly refused. He publicly mocked the judge’s orders. He initiated his own absolutely bogus criminal investigation of the judge and his family (similar to his bogus criminal investigation of Obama’s birth certificate). In training videos, later used as evidence against him, he effectively instructed his men to ignore the judge’s order.
The court gave Arpaio warning after warning. He didn’t listen. When criminal contempt proceedings were initiated, Arpaio admitted he did not follow the court’s order, admitted to civil contempt and hoped he could end it with that finding. Then U.S. Marshals seized evidence related to the contempt issue as Arpaio was preparing to destroy it.
Only after all of this did a different judge finally find Arpaio guilty of criminal contempt. A separate judge from the other proceedings found he willfully disobeyed the court’s orders.
Trump’s pardon cited Arpaio’s history of illegal immigration enforcement as a reason for the pardon. That would be the history of demonstrated racist practices, for which a Federal court convicted Arpaio when he refused to stop. Trump didn’t just pardon Arpaio, he essentially cited Arpaio’s racist practices as the basis for the pardon. Trump pardoned Arpaio because he did what a Federal court convicted him of doing. A more direct insult to the integrity of the Federal courts is unimaginable.
The notion that Arpaio is an honest or honorable man has always been a delusion. Early in his career, he faked an assassination plot against him to get votes. He was willing to let an innocent man go to jail to maintain the charade (the man did spend four years in jail for this). The man would later receive a $1.6 million settlement in a lawsuit against Arpaio and the County. This is the kind of dishonest power-abusing scum Trump pardoned.
As a final point, to accept a Presidential pardon is to admit guilt. That’s according to the United States Supreme Court. Arpaio tweeted his confession this morning.
The Mainstreaming of Republican Racism continues. This pardon was so dishonorable that Trump used the cover of a hurricane to do it. Trump disgustingly sought refuge from larger media attention in the eye of hurricane. When you have to use a major natural disaster as cover for what you are doing, you know what you are doing is horribly wrong.