In addition to signing an official memo ordering the Defense Department to develop and implement a transgender military ban on Friday, President Donald Trump issued a pardon for Joe Arpaio, the controversial ex-sheriff from Arizona. According to a White House release obtained by NBC News and other outlets, Trump “granted a Presidential pardon to Joe Arpaio, former Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona.” The so-called “America’s Toughest Sheriff” was convicted of criminal contempt in early August for his failure to stop racially profiling Latinos via a controversial series of illegal immigration roundups.
Though the statement summarizes Arpaio’s military and police records, it says nothing about his recent conviction or the illegal nature of his immigration raids. Even so, the White House statement applauds him for “fifty years of admirable service” and declares him a “worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon.” Speculation for such a thing picked up not long after Arpaio’s conviction made national headlines, though both the former sheriff and the Trump administration played down the rumors. Yet subsequent reports suggested the president was “seriously considering” the matter, and many thought he would announce it at his Phoenix rally, but Trump ultimately did not.
You can read the full White House statement below.