On Donald Trump’s pardon of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Washington, DC—The following is a statement from Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project:

“The president has capped off two weeks of erratic and deeply disturbing comments first uttered in the wake of the Charlottesville tragedy with the pardon of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a disgraced lawman roundly rejected by his Maricopa County, AZ, constituents in last November’s elections.  We would be hard-pressed to find anyone who, more than Arpaio, so embodied both contempt for the law and contempt for immigrants, or anyone he profiled as such. In pardoning Arpaio, the president has signaled to renegade public officials and vigilante white supremacists that they need not worry about legal consequences for their vile and illegal conduct– he has their backs.

“The president’s pardoning of Arpaio is more than a wink-and-a-nod to radical extremists who believe they can operate above the law: it speaks volumes about his acquiescence in racism and xenophobia, and his utter contempt for the rule of law – a maelstrom that appears to have no bottom.  That it comes on the heels of his remarks that there were many “very fine people” among the torch-bearing neo-Nazis and violent white supremacists who recently paraded around the University of Virginia campus and downtown Charlottesville, Virginia, deepens concerns about where this president will take this country on matters of great importance to all Americans.

“On inauguration day, the president made a solemn promise to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America.  To suggest that his pardon of Joe Arpaio breaks this oath feels somehow like an understatement.”

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