That controversial Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio endorsed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump didn’t come as a surprise back in January. Nor did the anti-immigration figure’s subsequent confrontation with Democratic rival Bernie Sanders‘ wife, Jane Sanders, which caused the Vermont senator to abandon an interview on Thursday. So when Arpaio revealed on Friday that he was going to attend a Trump rally just outside of Phoenix, no one thought anything of it. At least, until he added that he was providing security.
In an interview with Politico, Sheriff Arpaio explained that he would “be kinda wearing two hats” at the Fountain Hills rally on Saturday.
“[I’ll be] in charge of the security there in the town and also participating, I would imagine, with Trump in the rally, so it makes it interesting… [It] is going to be a lot of fun taking care of business there.”
From offering to pay a supporter’s legal fees after he sucker punched a protester at a rally, to lamenting the fact that he couldn’t punch the protesters himself, Trump has said and done things at his campaign events that have been heavily criticized by the media. The problem, the argument goes, is that Trump encourages increasingly aggressive forms of violence at his rallies. Some of his followers even go so far as to crash other candidates’ events — something that Trump has threatened previously.
Arpaio wouldn’t have any of this criticism, spending time during his Politico interview defending Trump against the media.
“They always repeat little minor things, what he said in the rally ‘oh you gotta carry him out on a stretcher, blah, blah, blah,'” Arpaio said. “I just thought that when you have a rally, you’re supposed to rally people and kind of say things that are exciting.”
Being the apparently avid Trump fan that he is, however, Arpaio couldn’t help boasting his own record in comparison to his endorsee. “I’ve had demonstrations against me constantly,” the sheriff said regarding the Donald’s penchant for attracting protesters. “He hasn’t had that many demonstrators compared to me.”
Then again, considering the massive demonstrations currently under way at and just outside the Fountain Hills rally location, Arpaio may have spoken too soon. Especially considering that portions of the nearby highway were blocked off by protesters, causing traffic to back up for miles.