President Trump’s homeland security and counterterrorism adviser on Sunday said Mr. Trump’s pardon of former sheriff Joe Arpaio is “pretty straightforward” and that most people are probably paying attention to other things at the moment.
“I think there’s a clemency argument that can be made for the long history of service, both in the United States military and in law enforcement for the sheriff,” White House adviser Tom Bossert said on ABC’s “This Week.”
“I think the president’s been pretty clear. It’s pretty straightforward that he believes that that long history of service merits this clemency, and he’s acted accordingly,” Mr. Bossert said.
On Friday, the White House announced that Mr. Trump was pardoning Mr. Arpaio, the former Maricopa County sheriff who made national headlines for his policies sweeping up illegal immigrants in Arizona.
Mr. Arpaio, who lost his bid for a seventh term in November, was convicted last month of ignoring a judge’s order to halt traffic stops that had identified illegal immigrants. He had not yet been sentenced.
“I think the Arpaio pardon is pretty straightforward,” Mr. Bossert said. “Just about every modern president ends up with some controversial pardons, but I think the president’s been pretty clear on it and I certainly don’t think it’s fair to characterize him as not caring about the rule of law.”
Mr. Bossert said he’s more focused at the moment on the devastation in East Texas amid Tropical Storm Harvey. The White House announced the pardon Friday evening as Texas was bracing for the impact of the storm, which made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane.
“My guess is that not too many people care about this one guy right now — they care about the millions of guys that are worried about their homes,” Mr. Bossert said.
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York had said Mr. Trump was using the cover of the storm to avoid scrutiny from issuing the pardon.
“He’s clearly wrong,” Mr. Bossert said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “I don’t think that took up more than a minute of his time on Friday night.”
Some Republicans, including House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Arizona Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake, have also criticized the move.
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) August 26, 2017
Regarding the Arpaio pardon, I would have preferred that the President honor the judicial process and let it take its course.
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) August 26, 2017
“Law-enforcement officials have a special responsibility to respect the rights of everyone in the United States. We should not allow anyone to believe that responsibility is diminished by this pardon.” – Paul Ryan’s spokesman
“I wouldn’t have done it this way,” Kasich said on NBC’s “Meet the Press. It should be out of bounds for somebody to use that as a sort of political wedge,” added Kasich, who is a frequent Trump critic. “It appears that’s what it was.”
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