California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said that Arpaio "demonstrates an embarrassing contempt for the rule of law by hiding behind a disgraceful pardon to escape the punishment our laws prescribe for lawbreakers".
Arpaio, 85, could not immediately be reached for comment, but he said on Fox Business Network's "Cavuto Coast to Coast" on Wednesday he would continue to support Trump, whether or not he received a pardon. Trump's remarks about illegal immigrants from Mexico being "rapists" and "murderers" caused massive backlash, as the former host of "The Apprentice" widened the political divide in the country. In defense of the move, the administration is citing Arpaio's long history of military and law enforcement service.
Alluding to his pardon power, Trump said he'll "make a prediction".
Unless he is pardoned, Arpaio's sentencing is scheduled for October 5.More news: How to Get Tickets to Taylor Swift's Upcoming Tour for Reputation Album
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Arpaio endorsed Trump's presidential candidacy in January 2016, wherein Trump made cracking down on illegal immigration a signature campaign issue. "Instead of a dog whistle, President Trump picked up a bull horn and let out a hateful shout tonight when he pardoned someone who personifies the same bigotry and intolerance we witnessed in Charlottesville", Gupta said in a statement.
Beyond the politics of pardoning someone who shares his views on immigration, Trump also could be sending a message to his former and current aides embroiled in the investigation into alleged collusion with Russian Federation, conservative commentator Bill Kristol noted. Before the election, Arpaio and Trump worked together in pursuit of President Obama's birth certificate.
In 2013, a judge found Arpaio and his deputies had engaged in racial profiling against Latinos, backing up the findings of a 2011 Justice Department report. Before becoming sheriff in 1993, Arpaio served in the U.S. Army and later as a police officer, a federal narcotics agent and the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration for Arizona.
This is Trump's first pardon in office, and it is unusual for a President to issue pardons - especially ones of such high profile - so soon in his first term.
'Sheriff Joe Arpaio targeted and terrorized Latino families because of the color of their skin.
Arpaio was convicted in July and has yet to be sentenced. The inmates lived outdoors while enduring sweltering Arizona desert temperatures. Joe Arpaio ignored the courts and the rule of law in order to systematically target Latinos in AZ.
Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, frequently a thorn in Trump's side, was among the most vocal critics.