As president of the United States, Donald Trump is entrusted with various powers; one of them being the ability to pardon someone for a crime or excuse them from punishment. In a recent interview with Fox News, Trump announced that he was “seriously considering” his very first pardon as president to be sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona, who is to face sentencing in October after acting against court orders to stop unlawfully arresting immigrants.
The fact of the matter is that evidence proves Joe Arpaio to be exceedingly racist. Styling himself as “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” Arpaio’s work in law enforcement was defined by racial profiling and illegally arresting Latinos based on the mere suspicion that they were undocumented citizens. His actions were noticed in 2011 by a justice department, who, after further investigation, found that his office was plagued with systemic discrimination. In addition, it was also discovered that under Arpaio, Latinos were not only illegally arrested, but were harassed, detained, and abused in different ways. This led to a federal court ordering Arpaio’s department to end their abuses of authority, though Arpaio seemed to be unphased by the order and went as far as announcing publicly on television that he was going to ignore the court order. As a result, Arpaio was tried and found guilty for criminal contempt and was set to be sentenced later this year.
While his actions are undeniably condemnable, Donald Trump seems to think otherwise. He even went as far as to say that Arpaio was a “great American patriot” who was admirable for doing “a lot in the fight against illegal immigration.”
“Make no mistake,” Cecilia Wang, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union said. “This would be an official presidential endorsement of racism.”
Arpaio’s identity as a “great American patriot” is easily arguable, and it seems that Donald Trump is conflicted on what protecting minorities actually means. Protecting minorities, especially in light of recent events, does not mean excusing a man who has a history of racist actions, was condemned by the court solely due to racist policies and was proud of being convicted of a discriminatory crime. The pardon also acts as an example to law enforcement officials everywhere that racial profiling is acceptable in the eyes of the president despite what federal courts or rules of enforcing the law may state.
Protecting minorities, especially in light of recent events, does not mean excusing a man who has a history of racist actions, was condemned by the court solely due to racist policies, and was proud of being convicted of a discriminatory crime.
The message rings loud and clear: Donald Trump would rather side with a racist, unlawful, and immoral criminal rather than those who have been victimized throughout American history simply due to their ethnicity.