Sheriff Joe Arpaio pardoned by Donald Trump

Photo via Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC-BY-SA)

Donald Trump pardons Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and Twitter went bonkers

This newspaper’s epic tweetstorm is a must read.


Josh Katzowitz


Posted on Aug 26, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 7:18 pm CDT

President Donald Trump for the past week has been teasing the possibility of pardoning Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the former Arizona law enforcement official who was found guilty of criminal contempt for refusing to stop illegally detaining people who were suspected of being undocumented immigrants.

On Friday night, with much of the country turned to coverage of Hurricane Harvey, Trump made his pronouncement.

And the internet, on both sides of the political aisle, immediately went bonkers.

Arpaio called himself “America’s toughest sheriff,” and he ingratiated himself to Trump because he was an early supporter of his presidential run and because he sent investigators to Hawaii to look for Barack Obama’s birth certificate. But he used racial profiling in his law enforcement work, and he was found guilty of criminal contempt for ignoring a federal court order to stop illegal profiling.

Arpaio tweeted his thanks to Trump, saying he had been the victim of a political witch hunt “by holdovers in the Obama justice department.” Not many internet users seemed to agree.

The Republican senators from Arizona, both of whom were heavily criticized by Trump during his Phoenix rally this week, also weighed in, writing they were against the pardon.

And then the Phoenix New Times let loose on this epic tweetstorm.

Arpaio was scheduled to be sentenced in October, but now that Trump has used his first pardon as president, Arpaio won’t have to worry about facing prison time.

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*First Published: Aug 26, 2017, 8:53 am CDT