Former Arizona sheriff and current Senate candidate Joe Arpaio said he does not support anti-Semitism views. But he still managed to give at least five interviews to a publication which denies the Holocaust.
On Jan. 21, Arpaio talked to the American Free Press, arguing about why he should be made the senator of Arizona and pushing for President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda.
The Southern Poverty Law calls the American Free Press “the most prominent and insidious far-right publications out there.” The media outlet was founded by a Nazi sympathizer, Willis Carto, who, ironically, was a World War II veteran. Carto has famously stated he regretted fighting against Hitler and the Nazis.
The publication has always denied the Holocaust, which resulted in the genocide of 6 million Jews and millions of other people, ever actually happened. In 2015, the American Free Press published a story by the name of “Meet the Man Who Invented the Holocaust,” which featured prominent Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate, Elie Wiesel. It has posted multiple such stories before and since then and even claimed the Sept. 11 attack on the Twin Towers was orchestrated by Jews.
Arpaio has talked to the openly anti-Jewish newspaper at least five times.
In an interview with the Huffington Post, the former sheriff refused to condemn American Free Press for asserting the terrible World War II tragedy was a hoax. Although he did say the Holocaust was a “sad” part of history, he said he would not comment on the publication.
“I talk to anybody,” he said. “I have an open-door policy. I don’t research every company that talks to me.”
Then in the same breath, Arpaio said he had a “deep respect for the Jewish people.”
However, it seems Arpaio doesn’t understand what anti-Semitic, racist and extremist sentiments means, if his later comment was any indication. Arpaio asked The Huffington Post if they thought Alex Jones — the InfoWars conspiracy theorist who believes Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax by the U.S. government — was extreme. When they replied in the affirmative, he said, “Well, I go on his show” — before adding the Huffington Post was itself not so credible because it “isn’t nice” to him.
Arpaio is not a paragon of virtue himself. In his 24-year tenure as sheriff of Maricopa County, Arpaio was accused of severe abuses of power. In 2011, his department failed to properly investigate 400 sex crime cases, including assault on children from 2005 to 2007 when the department had a $2.7 million contract to manage policing services for the city of El Mirage.
According to the report, many of those children belonged to undocumented immigrants and the victims were as young as 2.
An estimated 160 people died in Arpaio’s jail, many of whom took their own lives.
In July, Arapaio was also convicted of criminal contempt after he flagrantly disregarded a 2011 court order to stop unlawful traffic stops that disproportionately terrorized undocumented immigrants, particularly from the Latino community. However, President Donald trump pardoned Arpaio in July 2017, sparing him some much-needed jail time.
Now this man is running for the Senate.
Arpaio is, predictably, an idol to many of the people in the far right. If they see him talking to American Free Press, the idea of a hoax Holocaust might become legitimate for them.
Banner/Thumbnail credit: Reuters, Laura Segall