President Donald President Trump told Fox News he is “seriously considering” a pardon for Joe Arpaio, the controversial former sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz. who was found guilty of criminal contempt last month after he was ordered to stop racially profiling Latinos in his Maricopa County office.
The former sheriff endorsed Trump last year and appeared with him on the campaign trail. Now Trump is returning the favor.
“I am seriously considering a pardon for Sheriff Arpaio,” Trump told Fox News at his Bedminster, N.J., golf club, where he had been staying during a vacation.
“He has done a lot in the fight against illegal immigration. He’s a great American patriot and I hate to see what has happened to him.”
Arpaio has been an outspoken opponent of illegal immigration and used aggressive and illegal tactics as sheriff that landed him in court, including pulling over Latinos that he suspected were in the country illegally.
Trump’s comments came at a time when he was taking heat for not explicitly condemning white supremacists for the violence at a rally in Charlottesville that left one woman dead and at least 19 people injured.
After three days of public pressure, Trump was forced to issue a more forceful rebuke of the white supremacist groups on Monday, declaring that “racism is evil.”