President Donald Trump on Wednesday night said he would not make a pardon for the controversial former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, who was convicted of criminal contempt of court for violating a court order to stop racially profiling Latinos.
“I’m not ready to say I’m going to pardon Joe Arpaio,” Trump said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“We’ll see how he feels about it.
I don’t want to make a decision on that, and I don, frankly, don’t think that Joe is the right person for that.””
The pardon of Joe Arpaio is a decision for the President of the United States,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said.
“I know there is an enormous amount of frustration about Joe Arpaio and his conviction.
He was the sheriff of the largest city in the country, and he has done things that the American people and other countries consider abhorrent.””
As President Trump has said, he will make a final determination as to whether or not to pardon Arpaio at a later date,” Sanders said, adding that the president “will be making that decision based on the facts of the case.”
Trump was asked by CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer if he had made up his mind about whether to pardon him or not, to which he replied: “No, I don.
I haven’t made a decision yet.”
He was also asked about the backlash that Trump’s decision would cause the Latino community and Trump himself, and said that he would “make a decision” in the coming days, saying that he didn’t want “to politicize the case” and that it “was never a decision about whether or no pardon should be made.”
The pardon is a key sticking point for many Latino voters in Arizona, a key battleground state in the 2018 election and a key swing state in 2020.
Trump has called for the pardon of Arpaio in the past, saying in 2016 that he had pardoned convicted criminal Joe Arpaio for “the murder of” Kathryn Steinle in 2015.
He has also said that if convicted, Arpaio could have faced up to five years in prison.
Arpaio was first arrested in 2011 and charged with criminal contempt, a misdemeanor offense, for his role in detaining and arresting immigrants in a mass roundup of undocumented immigrants in the aftermath of the 2013 mass shooting at the Marine Corps base in San Francisco.
He served six months in jail before he was released.
Trump pardoned Arpaio in February after a judge ruled that the former sheriff’s conviction violated the 14th Amendment of the Constitution and that Arpaio’s legal defense team failed to provide evidence to prove the allegations of criminal conduct.
Trump also said in his inauguration speech in January that he believed that Arpaio was guilty and that he deserved a pardon.
The former president also said he did not know whether Arpaio was a threat to the United State and that the conviction should not have been overturned.
“What I did know is, I didn’t like Joe Arpaio, I really didn’t,” Trump told a crowd of supporters at a campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona.
“But he’s a bad guy, and a criminal.”