After being pardoned by Trump, the former sheriff told Fox News that he'll be talking about his conviction as part of his Senate campaign.
Having recently lost his bid for re-election as sheriff by 10 points in a Republican county in the deeply red state of Arizona, racist convicted criminal Joe Arpaio has now set his sights on the U.S. Senate.
And during a Fox News interview Wednesday, Arpaio insisted that his criminal history will play a central part in his campaign.
Most candidates would likely downplay something like that on the campaign trail. But not Arpaio, a longtime cheerleader for Donald Trump, who pardoned him last summer, without offering any explanation.
Asked about his qualifications for being a senator, Arpaio told Fox News that he would be definitely be “talking about” the “trouble” he got into over his virulently racist anti-immigrants views and actions.
And while insisting that he’s “an independent guy” who would not give “rubber stamps” to Trump’s agenda, he also seemed gleeful about the chance to help Trump “drain the swamp” despite that being the opposite of what Trump has done.
ARPAIO: Well, you know, 24 years as a sheriff fighting the illegal immigration problem, which got me in trouble. I’ve had [Barack] Obama and [Eric] Holder zero in on me, took them eight years to get me on a contempt misdemeanor. So I’ll be talking more about that in the future. But don’t forget I spent 55 years in law enforcement. I was a director in Mexico City. South America, Turkey, you name it. So I wasn’t just a sheriff. So I’m going to take all the experience that I’ve gathered in my career and use it in the Senate.
DOOCY: Do you think you would be using that experience, it would be helpful to help drain the swamp? Because ultimately, during the commercial you said that Donald Trump was a heroic figure to you, and he wants to drain the swamp. If you were in the Senate, would you do that as well?
ARPAIO: Oh, I’d have a lot of fun. I’m an independent guy, there’s no rubber stamps, but the president and I have a good relationship, and that’s going to be good for Arizona and for our country.
For years, Arpaio served as a controversial figure, employing a dangerous group of volunteers to help round up undocumented immigrants, while also overseeing his infamous “Tent City,” a draconian experiment in mistreating and abusing prisoners.
Arpaio ran into legal trouble when he spent years defying a 2011 court order “to refrain from racially profiling Latinos during patrols and turning them over to federal immigration authorities.”
Arpaio refused to comply, and in July 2017, he was found guilty of criminal contempt of court. The presiding judge said the evidence revealed Arpaio’s “flagrant disregard” for the court order and that he had “willfully violated” it.
Arpaio’s banking on that being a resume-builder for his Senate run. But recent events in the even redder Alabama ought to show him that voters are not ready to send people with such despicable histories to Congress.