During a tax policy event in Arizona on Tuesday, Vice President Mike Pence introduced Trump-pardoned ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio as a “tireless champion” of the “rule of law.”
“(He’s) a great friend of this President, a tireless champion of strong borders and the rule of law,” he said according to an NBC video clip of the event. “He’s spent a lifetime in law enforcement— Sheriff Joe Arpaio and I’m honored to have you here.”
"I'm honored to have you here."
Vice President Mike Pence recognizes ex-sheriff Joe Arpaio during a tax policy event in Arizona, calling Arpaio a "tireless champion of strong borders and the rule of law." pic.twitter.com/tzmS3sKPnN
— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 1, 2018
The irony of Pence’s comments was lost on the crowd, which met the Vice President’s introduction of Arpaio with cheers and applause. Arpaio is currently running for retiring Sen. Jeff Flake’s (R-AZ) seat in Congress.
Arpaio, who was pardoned by President Donald Trump in August and is currently facing a legal battle to get his record cleared, was convicted of contempt of court for violating court orders that barred his office from discriminatory policing practices.
The conviction came after Arpaio was sued for discriminatory practices, with the suit claiming that Arpaio’s department intentionally targeted and detained Latinos living in his county. His office was issued a court order to halt the racially discriminatory traffic stops, but he refused to change the department’s policing tactics.
Arpaio was set to be sentenced for the conviction in October, but was spared from a possible prison sentence with Trump’s pardon. In April, a California court ordered the appointment of a private attorney to oppose Arpaio’s efforts to wipe his criminal record after the Justice Department refused to defend an Arizona court’s decision to block his conviction from getting cleared.