Ahead of President Donald Trump’s visit to Phoenix, Arizona, on Tuesday, there is speculation that Trump might use the speech as an opportunity to pardon former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a national face of anti-immigration sentiment. Arpaio was recently convicted of contempt of court for disregarding a judge’s order to stop his discriminatory anti-immigration patrols, and he now faces up to six months in jail, with sentencing scheduled for October.
The president told Fox News on August 14 that he was “seriously considering” pardoning Arpaio. “Is there anyone in local law enforcement who has done more to crack down on illegal immigration than Sheriff Joe?” Trump said during the interview. “He has protected people from crimes and saved lives. He doesn’t deserve to be treated this way.” Three Republican congressmen from Arizona—Reps. Trent Franks, Andy Biggs, and Paul Gosar—have called on Trump to pardon Arpaio. But Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, a Democrat, said that if Trump announces a pardon at the rally, “it will be clear that his true intent is to enflame emotions and further divide our country.”
The White House didn’t respond to a question about whether Trump was planning to issue the pardon, and Arpaio said he hasn’t heard about an impending pardon but would be “honored by the potential pardon” and would accept it, according to the New York Times. Arpaio told Politico that he’d be available for the Tuesday night rally if called upon.
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