What on earth was he thinking? Vice President Mike Pence, at a rally attempting to sell President Donald Trump’s tax package, sent out “props” to disgraced former Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Arpaio, who is currently running to become Arizona’s next U.S. senator, received commendation from Pence, who told him he was “honored to have you here.”
Pence also told Arpaio that he is a “tireless champion” of “the rule of law” — a notion that’s laughable to anyone with a sound memory.
"I'm honored to have you here."— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 1, 2018
Vice President Mike Pence recognizes ex-sheriff Joe Arpaio during a tax policy event in Arizona, calling Arpaio a "tireless champion of strong borders and the rule of law." pic.twitter.com/tzmS3sKPnN
Trump, Pence’s boss, has frequently expressed his admiration for Arpaio, who he granted his first pardon to last year after the disgraced former Arizona sheriff was found guilty of being in contempt of court for continuing to racially profile Latinxs after he was ordered not to.
“Throughout his time as sheriff, Arpaio continued his life’s work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration,” a White House statement said after Trump issued his first pardon.
In addition to racially profiling Latinxs, Arpaio was also a brutal (not fair) enforcer of the law. His prisons were so terrible that people hanged themselves at one of the highest rates of any jail in the country. Arpaio’s reports on these suicides were many times left unexplained.
Arpaio also had an infamous “tent city jail,” which forced individuals to endure extremely hot conditions while being subjected to countless cruel actions under his watch.
Despite the many cruelties and disgraceful manner in which Arpaio served out the law, Trump granted him a pardon last summer. And while a case could be made in the past that his opinion of Arpaio was his alone, Pence’s comments on Tuesday seem to reiterate the administration’s — not just Trump’s — high opinion of the former criminal.
While it’s technically true that all crimes Arpaio was found guilty of have been expunged from his record, it’s highly misleading to consider the former sheriff a proponent of the “rule of law.” Had he been as much, he wouldn’t have been found in contempt of court for failing to adhere to a judicial decree telling him to stop racially profiling individuals in his jurisdiction.
Pence likes to portray himself as a morally-superior individual, whose Christian faith guides him toward taking an approach to governance that is fair and just. Yet he proves he’s no better than Trump, considering Arpaio to be a fair arbiter of “the rule of law” when it’s clear he is not.
Pence may not be as brash as Trump is, but the duo are two peas in a pod, as the vice president's recent comments demonstrate.