During a press conference with the leader of Finland, Trump answered a question from John Harwood about his pardon of Joe Arpaio.
Harwood: Mr. President, thank you so much. President, I have a question for you as well, but if I could start with President Trump. In the middle of Hurricane Harvey hitting on Friday night, you chose to pardon former Sheriff Joe Arpaio. I wonder if you can tell us what was behind your thinking for issuing a pardon for the Sheriff, and as well, what do you say to your critics, even some in your own party, who say it was the wrong thing to do?
Trump: Well, a lot of people think it was the right thing to do, John, and actually, in the middle of a hurricane, even though it was a Friday evening, I assumed the ratings would be far higher than they were normally. The hurricane was just starting. and I put out that I pardoned, as we call Sheriff Joe. He's done a great job for the people of Arizona. He's very strong on borders, very strong on illegal immigration. He is loved in Arizona. I thought he was treated unbelievably unfairly when they came down with their big decision to go get him right before the election voting started, as you know, and he lost in a fairly close election. He would have won the election but they just hammered him just before the election. I thought this was a very, very unfair thing to do. When I mentioned him the other night, you saw the massive crowd we had.
FALSE, he lost by nearly 10 points.
On how he came to his decision?
Trump: The people went crazy when I said "What do you think of Sheriff Joe", or something to that effect.
Oh, so a room full of Trumpkin cult members cheering is enough to earn a pardon for a racist Sheriff? Makes sense. This is a reality TV show. He continued
Trump: As far as pardons are concerned, I actually did this just before the meeting because I assumed somebody would ask me the question.
(whips out sheet of paper, probably from Infowars or Breitbart)
Trump: I didn't know it would be you. as you can attest, you didn't even know you would be called, but I thought I would, and Sheriff Joe is a great veteran of the military, great law enforcement person. Somebody that's won many, many elections in the state of Arizona, but I wanted to look at some of that were pardoned over the years, and if you look at, as an example, President Clinton pardoned Mark Rich who was charged with crimes going back decades, including illegally buying oil from Iran while it held 53 American hostages, wasn't allowed to do that. Selling to the enemies of the United States. He was pardoned after his wife donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Clintons. Then you have dangerous criminals. President Clinton pardoned Susan Rosenberg, a member of the weathered underground. The charge as part of a bank robbery that led to a bank guard and two police officers being killed. They convinced Vince McNally, a central player in a cocaine ring that stretched from California to Minnesota, criminal leaker. You've heard the word leaker? President Obama commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning who leaked countless sensitive and classified documents to Wikileaks, perhaps in others, but horrible, horrible thing that HE did, commuted the sentence. and perhaps pardoned.
Chelsea Manning's sentence was commuted, not pardoned. And she is a SHE, not a HE.
Trump: 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 that he would have won. (WRONG) and he was elected many times, so I stand by my pardon of Sheriff Joe, and I think the people of Arizona who really know him best would agree with me.
No, Sheriff Joe is not a good man. Rolling Stone wrote a lengthy piece in 2012.
Here's a compilation of stories about Sheriff Joe going back 20 years.
One man's harrowing tale of his year in "Tent City" under Sheriff Joe.
Here's how he ended up facing jail time for violating a court order.
No, Sheriff Joe is not a good man. And bragging about dropping a pardon in the middle of hurricane coverage is not leadership. It's reality television-level cynicism.