John McCain is none too pleased that President Trump actually went through with pardoning former Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio. He’s not alone— Trump’s first presidential pardon has rubbed plenty of others the wrong way, including fellow Arizona Senator Jeff Flake. The criticism stems not only from a sense of favoritism and injustice, but also timing, as President Trump didn’t pen the pardon until Hurricane Harvey was barreling down on Corpus Christie, Texas, despite weeks of buildup to the decision.
“No one is above the law and the individuals entrusted with the privilege of being sworn law officers should always seeks to be beyond reproach,” McCain said in a written statement. “The President has the authority to make this pardon, but doing so at this time undermines his claim for the respect of rule of law as Mr. Arpaio has shown no remorse for his actions.”
Arpaio, who served as sheriff for over twenty years and garnered a great deal of controversy over his stance on immigration and his treatment of state inmates, was convicted of criminal contempt after he wouldn’t stop racially profiling Latinos, just in case they were undocumented. Some of the critics of Trump’s pardon call Arpaio’s actions downright racist, including Wisconsin representative Mark Pocan, who scorched Trump for hiding a couple controversial decisions behind hurricane Harvey.
Pocan wasn’t the only one who thought Trump’s timing was unbecoming.
Attorney and poet Seth Abramson offered up his legal perspective on the pardon, noting its implications for the Fourth Amendment, which protects the American people against unreasonable search and seizure.
McCain wasn’t the only member of Arizona leadership in the crowd of pardon critics. Senator Jeff Flake weighed in, too, though in more measured terms than McCain. “I would have preferred that the President honor the judicial process and let it take its course,” he tweeted.
While President Trump was tying up the Arpaio pardon (and inking his unpopular directive on trans members of the military), ICE was holding position on its roadside check points that had many undocumented Texans nervous to evacuate less they get stopped and detained while trying to get out of Harvey’s path. Trump said he would monitor the Harvey situation from a retreat at Camp David.