On Friday August 25, Donald Trump pardoned former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The pardon comes as Arpaio was recently convicted of criminal contempt for disregarding a court order in a racial-profiling case. While the president has full authority to pardon anyone he chooses, he should choose wisely, and not pardon people who acted above the law and neglected responsibilities. Arpaio was not a worthy candidate to be pardoned.
To begin with, Arpaio was a personal friend of Trump’s, and advocated for him during the 2016 campaign season. Arpaio was drawn to Trump because their shared beliefs when it comes to immigration and deportations. Trump also chose not to consult the Justice Department before issuing the pardon, abandoning a norm long practiced by previous presidents. While the president does have full lawful authority to pardon just about anyone, it is uncommon to not consult lawyers, and even more uncommon to pardon a personal friend of the president.
Second, for someone to deserve a Presidential Pardon, they must acknowledge their wrong doings as well as show remorse for their criminal actions. Arpaio has done neither; he has refused to admit that he ordered his deputies to racially profile people, he has refused to admit that he ordered his deputies to target minorities at traffic stops, and he has refused to admit that his department unfairly harmed people who were in the custody of his department.
Rather than admit wrong doing or showing remorse, Arpaio has gone out of his way to do the opposite, defending himself on Twitter saying “Thank you @realdonaldtrump for seeing my conviction for what it is: a political witch hunt by holdovers in the Obama justice department!”
In short: Arpaio was a personal friend of Trump, Trump did not consult with his lawyers about the pardon, Arpaio has not admitted any wrong doing, and Arpaio has instead defended himself by claiming his conviction had political motives. That does not sound like a person who deserves to be pardoned, and Joe Arpaio most certainly does not deserve to be pardoned.