Arizona Republican Senate candidate and former Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio gave at least five interviews since 2014 to the anti-Semitic outlet American Free Press, the Arizona Republic reported Wednesday evening.
On Jan. 30, AFP published a story on Arpaio’s Senate campaign that featured an interview he gave to reporter Mark Anderson. Arpaio praised Anderson’s work.
“He’s written some good stories, especially on my situation,” Arpaio told the Arizona Republic of an AFP reporter who published a story Wednesday on Arpaio’s Senate campaign. “I think he wrote one a little while back that was very honest. I can’t say that for other publications.”
Arpaio separately told the Arizona Republic that he couldn’t “believe another news outlet is criticizing a newspaper.”
“I talk to all media, so what am I supposed to do? Investigate every media outlet to see what stories they write?” Arpaio said. “I don’t do that. You know that, I talk to all reporters, all publications.”
Willis Carto, the late founder of AFP, was a Holocaust denier who blamed the Sept. 11 attacks on Israel. The Southern Poverty Law Center called him “one of the most active and influential white nationalists of the past century.” AFP has published posts like “Jewish Fingerprints All Over 9-11,” as the Arizona Republic noted, as well as pieces about “Jewish congressional traitors” and the “international Jewish lobby.”
In 2016, Arpaio lost his bid to serve a seventh term as sheriff of Maricopa County, a role in which he had been criticized for years over cruel conditions in his facilities. He once described an outdoor jail dubbed “Tent City” as a “concentration camp.” In August 2017, he received a presidential pardon a month after he was convicted of defying a court order that he stop profiling Latino motorists.
Arpaio claimed to the Republic that he hadn’t read AFP in print and doesn’t have a computer to read it online.
“If I turned down everybody that writes stories I didn’t agree with, I probably wouldn’t be talking to anybody,” Arpaio told the publication. “I can’t believe this, how one journalist’s organization would criticize another one when we have free speech in this country.”
It was brought to my attention I gave interview to publication that supports antisemitism; I was unaware and don't support that view point
— Sheriff Joe Arpaio (@RealSheriffJoe) February 1, 2018
Arpaio claimed Thursday that he was “unaware” of AFP’s viewpoint, but in 2014 the Phoenix New Times asked the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office about the publication after Arpaio gave AFP an interview.
“The Sheriff does hundreds of interviews with different people and doesn’t do background checks on them before he does them,” a spokesperson for MCSO told the New Times. “The topic of this interview was immigration, I’m sure you have it.”