President Donald Trump sparked flurry of outrage when he announced his decision to pardon former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio just as Hurricane Harvey was slamming into the Texas coast.
Most people thought the president timed the controversial announcement with the deadly weather so that it would not receive much attention and Arpaio’s pardon would become just another entry in the long list of inequitable decisions the Trump administration has taken so far.
However, it turns out reality TV star-turned-politician chose the moment to coincide with the major hurricane because he thought the television ratings would be higher at the time.
“I assumed the ratings would be far higher than they would be normally,” Trump said during a joint press conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto. “You know, the hurricane was just starting.”
Then, in an attempt to defend his decision to pardon the so-called “America’s toughest sheriff,” who systematically abused his powers and for over two decades, Trump argued former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton also used their powers to pardon political allies.
“President Clinton pardoned Marc Rich, who was charged with crimes going back decades, including illegally buying oil from Iran while it held 53 American hostages,” the commander-in-chief continued. “He wasn't allowed to do that. Selling to the enemies of the United States. He was pardoned after his wife donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Clintons.”
Trump also brought up Obama’s decision to commute former soldier Chelsea Manning’s sentence.
“President Obama commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning who leaked countless sensitive and classified documents to WikiLeaks, perhaps in others, but horrible, horrible thing that he (sic) did, commuted the sentence and perhaps pardoned," Trump said, even though Manning was never pardoned. In addition to that, Trump also referred to the former soldier as “he” despite the fact that she is a transgender woman.
Trump also declared Arpaio was revered in Arizona.
“He’s done a great job for the people of Arizona, he’s very strong on borders, very strong on illegal immigration, he is loved in Arizona,” the president insisted. “I thought he was treated unbelievably unfairly when they came down with their big decision to go get him.”
Well, to put things into perspective, here is a statement from Arizona Sen. John McCain.
Trump says former sheriff Joe Arpaio is "loved in Arizona." Here's what Arizona senator John McCain said about Trump pardoning him: pic.twitter.com/40poGyiC6o— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) August 28, 2017
Thumbnail/Banner: Reuters, Carlos Barria