President Donald Trump pardoned Joe Arpaio, the former Arizona sheriff who illegally used racial profiling to enforce immigration laws, on Aug. 25.

It’s true, Trump has the legal power to pardon pretty much anyone. But pardoning Arpaio may send the message that state and local officials can aggressively enforce federal immigration law, even if it risks racial profiling and violating the due process rights of citizens and non-citizens.

This is a man who:

  • Was found to have violated the constitutional rights of detainees in his prisons (by a George W. Bush-appointed judge, no less) by feeding them spoiled food and denying them proper medical care – and these included detainees who had not yet been convicted of a crime.
  • Understaffed his departments special victims unit, leaving hundreds of sex crimes un-investigated, because of his prioritzation of immigration enforcement over protecting his community from its most serious criminals.
  • Misappropriated public funds explicitly designated for other purposes in his quest to clamp down on illegal immigration
  • Has racially profiled Latinos, detaining them without probable cause on “suspicion” of their immigration status.
  • Stoked racial/xenophobic tensions by playing an active role in the “Birther” movement
  • Abused the power of his office by using the Maricopa County Sheriff’s office “cold case posse” to further the bogus claims of the Birther movement.
  • When Donald Trump calls on Americans to unite as a country, then goes and pardons one of the most corrupt, bigoted, divisive public officials in in recent memory, the juxtaposition is both saddening and deeply disturbing.

Utterly unsurprising, yet horrific nonetheless.

He shows more mercy to a man who was criminally convicted – and may well not have been sentenced to jail, given his age, which makes this all the more repugnant in its symbolism – and is guilty of truly awful behavior and actions than he has ever shown to young person protected under DACA.

With news that he is likely to end DACA soon, this repugnant action is all the more worthy of condemnation.

He has more room in his so-called heart for Sheriff Joe, convict, than he has for young people whose only “crime” was to be brought here.

Presidents have been criticized for the their pardons in the past but it is difficult to recall when the president has basically denigrated and overruled a federal judge’s actions in a criminal case. But then why should anyone be surprised by Trump’s actions – he has been sidestepping the law for years in his business antics, has mocked judges in the past and has continued to exhibit a moral compass which is broken.

His hubris, omnipotence and total disregard for the laws and institutions governing America is appalling and increasing – enough of this disgusting charade, time for Pence, McConnell and other concerned parties to state he is unfit in every sense of the word and should resign the office of the presidency.

At least the president is consistent in some things. Having refused to chastise the alt-right demonstrators of Charlottesville, President Trump now pardons a nationally divisive figure in both the incendiary immigration debate and the racial profiling imbroglio. Former sheriff Arpaio was convicted of misdemeanor contempt of court and sent to jail.

Another, less contentious, avenue for freedom was for Arpaio to demonstrate in court, upon appeal, that he was innocent of the charge. Of course, that would take time and patience. Attributes Mr. Trump is not famous for exhibiting.

Wake-up call

Trump has perversely done those of us in the anti-Trump camp a big favor: he has given us a great wake-up call for how fraught with problems our Constitution really is and points out exactly what needs to be fixed moving forward.

For years, men who respected tradition and law were elected President, and flagrant abuses were manageable. We were lucky. Trump, on the other hand, hourly tests how far he can abuse the considerable powers the office is granted by the Constitution.

This is a good thing, because now we all see quite clearly that the Founders still could not quite shake their comfort with the concept of a King and a ruling overlord class, despite their intentions to eliminate that.


  • An Electoral College that serves to check and, in Trump’s case, actually pervert the will of the people. Hillary won, but Trump still sits on the throne.
  • Full pardon power for convicted criminals, perverting the rule of law and the authority of the courts.
  • The President can’t be fired, but has to face a long, drawn-out, highly political process called impeachment that never happens when his own party controls Congress.
  • One man controls agencies like the EPA, FTC, State Department, etc. and can dismantle all the good they do with no checks and balances on his power.
  • The most frightening: one man controls nuclear weapons.

King Trump will go down in history, hopefully, as the home-grown despot who woke America up to the kingly powers of its President.