Joe Arpaio, convicted former Arizona sheriff and current Senate candidate, said Sen. Jeff Flake‘s (R-Ariz.) scathing speech criticizing President Donald Trump could possibly be considered an act of “treason.”
On Wednesday, Flake, who is leaving the Senate, spoke out about Trump’s treatment of the press and at one point compared the president to former Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.
“I don’t know if Sen. Flake should make some comments against our commander in chief, I’m not saying, it could be considered by some a borderline treason type situation,” he said, according to AZFamily.com.
But Arpaio didn’t stop there. The former sheriff said he didn’t think American people should have unfettered ability to criticize the president.
“You got to be careful when you blast the president on international issues,” he said, later adding that people should only be able to criticize the government “within reason.”
Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt of court for refusing to obey a court order to stop his officers from targeting suspected undocumented immigrants in Maricopa County.
Trump then pardoned Arpaio and announced it in a tweet. The president had been teasing a possible pardon for a week beforehand.
The pardon seemed to breathe new life in Arpaio, 85, who said in a tweet announcing his Senate candidacy to take Flake’s seat that he wanted to “support the agenda and policies of President Donald Trump in his mission to Make America Great Again.”
Arizona’s Republican primary will be held on Aug. 28. The former sheriff will face off against Kelli Ward, who lost a primary to John McCain in 2016, and Rep. Martha McSally.