In an op-ed published in The Washington Post on Wednesday, conservative commentator George Will condemned Vice President Mike Pence as “the worst person in government.”
Will lambasted Pence for his praise of disgraced former Maricopa County Sheriff and convicted criminal Joe Arpaio at a rally last week in Tempe, Arizona.
Arpaio, who is running for retiring Sen. Jeff Flake’s (R) Senate seat, was convicted of contempt of court last year for refusing to cease the racial profiling of Hispanic people at traffic stops for immigration checks.
During the rally, Pence called the ex-sheriff a “great friend” of Trump and the White House. Arpaio is a “tireless champion of strong borders and the rule of law,” Pence added, prompting cheers from attendees.
Will questioned Pence’s support for Arpaio, whom he called a “criminal” and “a grandstanding, camera-chasing bully and darling of the thuggish right.”
“[W]hat was the practicality in Pence’s disregard of the facts about Arpaio? His pandering had no purpose beyond serving Pence’s vocation, which is to ingratiate himself with his audience of the moment,” Will wrote.
The columnist went on to say that the president “knew” Pence could “become America’s most repulsive public figure.”
“Because his is the authentic voice of today’s lickspittle Republican Party, he clarifies this year’s elections: Vote Republican to ratify groveling as governing,” Will said.
Arpaio was pardoned by President Trump earlier this year and filed an appeal in January to have his conviction cleared.
The former sheriff is facing off against former state Sen. Kelli Ward and Rep. Martha McSally in the August GOP primary for Flake’s seat. The winner will likely face Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema in November.